Putting the WOW back in Wellington
08 Sep 2010
The first rounds of judging are complete and the cream of creativity is again preparing to dazzle audiences at New Zealand’s famous Montana World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Show.
The 2010 event opens in Wellington on 23 September when 191 finalists - selected out of 300 entries from New Zealand and around the world - show their weird and wonderful creations in a spectacularly unique blend of art and fashion.
What began as novel idea, by a then small-town sculptor, has blossomed into a major international event that now attracts creations from artisans and designers from all over the world.
WOW has attracted double the number of international entries this year, and more than 100 garments were shipped to New Zealand for the first round of judging.
One in three garments chosen for this year’s show come from international designers on four continents, including a record 23 entries from India.
For the first year, China has played a significant role in the event after interest was highlighted by an international tour WOW founder Suzie Moncrieff made to India, Hong Kong and Shanghai last year.
The 191 garments chosen for the 2010 stage show is the largest collection in the show’s 22 year history, and organisers say the level of artistry develops further every year.
The final garment selection features a variety of materials ranging from hundreds of individually styled metal parts to 17,900 metres of yarn.
Designers range from dentists to architects, jewellers to sculptors, fashion designers to business analysts, students to retirees.
Finalists include a strong showing from the USA and India as well as the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
They are competing for NZ$100,000 in prizes including the Supreme Award, and the highly coveted Weta Award selected by Oscar-winning designer Sir Richard Taylor.
2010 WOW judges
Joining Suzie Moncrieff on the judging panel for the 2010 show is New Zealand kinetic sculptor Phil Price, and fashion designer Doris de Pont who is synonymous with the New Zealand fashion scene.
International guest judge will be New Zealander Mark D’Arcy who now lives in New York. D’Arcy was named Time Warner Global Media Group president, and senior vice president Time Warner in 2009.
Judges say this year’s entrants for all seven sections of the awards continue to "spin innovative and incredible designs out of a myriad of elements and ingredients".
A record seven entries have come from a sole designer, renowned New Delhi artist Vivan Sundaram.
Student entries from India had also increased which, Moncrieff says, has been encouraged by the relationship between WOW, Tourism New Zealand and the Fashion Design Council of India.
"Many of the students were already making incredible innovative works of wearable art and it was heartening to see how original and inventive their works were," said Moncrieff.
Some of the work chosen for the final show includes Shanghai student Jia Shan Gu’s knitted garments named Travel of Self Exile which feature space-like asymmetrical patterns.
From a reptilian inspiration to an extra-terrestrial one, British artist and illustrator Jonathon Wood’s creation Levitation Communication Annihilation is built from intricately painted polystyrene and foam, and has the same surface area as a small car.
2009 Supreme Award
Supreme Award winner for 2009, Alaskan carpenter David Walker has created a seven-piece garment of wood for this year’s event, entitled Wood, Wire and Fire.
The garment, which is wired to light up as part of the Gen-i Creative Excellence Section, is styled on a mix of Las Vegas showgirls and a second- hand chandelier.
Dutch costume designer Theodora Hillenaar has created Flowerdoll, Gingerbread Man and Tumbler - toys scaled to adult size and taught to dance for the American Express Open Section.
Returning Australian WOW entrants Bonnie Begg and Christina White have taken a different spin on beauty within, creating Ecdysis - a curling peel of polyester, framed on irrigation tubing and wire, mimicking the shedding of an animal’s or insect’s exoskeleton.
Moncrieff says the effort and inspiration that goes into the garments that make it to the final stage of the Montana WOW Awards creates the backbone for the event.
The garments are then woven into a dramatic, cleverly choreographed live performance seen by an audience of more than 43,000 people over the 11 show season.
There are two further judging sessions before the World of Wearable Art Show opens on 23 September. Winners will be announced at the Awards Night on 24 September.
Background: World of WearableArt
Described as, "a rebellion against the mundane", the Montana World of WearableArt Awards Show bends traditional perceptions of both art and fashion.
The dramatic presentation combining theatre, dance, colour, movement and art has gained international acclaim for its originality.
After seeing the show, well known BBC correspondent Michael Peschardt said: "I’ve seen major cultural and fashion shows around the world and this is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before."
WOW began in 1987 as a promotion for a rural art gallery when Nelson sculptor Suzie Moncrieff conceived the idea of exhibiting art in a live theatrical show. The annual event is now held in Wellington.
Bob Haven, Professor in Costume Technology & WOW Designer at Kentucky University, United States, says, "Athletes have the Olympics, actors have the Oscars, musicians have the Grammys, designers and costume creators have WOW."
US carpenter reigns supreme at 2009 WOW
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