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Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion Showcasing

Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion Showcasing At Te Papa

Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion, an exhibition celebrating the career and achievements of Annie Bonza, one of New Zealand’s most admired fashion designers, will open at Te Papa (Eyelights, Level 4), on Friday 22 September 2006.

Annie has wowed the New Zealand fashion scene with her vibrant and offbeat design style for more than 50 years. The exhibition features a striking selection of Annie’s works, revealing the hallmarks of her distinctive style – a spectacular sense of colour and a love of surface embellishment.

Annie developed a unique ‘doodle’ style of embellishment, patterning garments with braid, ribbon, beading, embroidery and hand-painting. The exhibition provides an insight into the development of the style and techniques in her designs.

Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion also explores her relationship with the media, and features highlights from her career, including her many national fashion awards.

The fashion-conscious of the late 1960s and early 1970s knew the Bonza style well. Annie was a pioneer of boutique fashion. Her funky Auckland stores attracted much attention and led to various commissions for television. Annie’s win at the 1971 Benson & Hedges (later Smokefree) Fashion Design Awards cemented her name in the ‘Who’s who?’ of fashion.

Her unique designs drew the attention of high profile personalities. In the 1980s, Dame Catherine Tizard (then Mayor of Auckland) and television personality Joanna Paul were among the big names on her client list. In 1989, Annie again won acclaim at the Benson & Hedges awards.

Gowns of exquisite beauty and detail became her hallmark, while she continued to create daywear that wowed New Zealand women with striking colour combinations and patterns.

But life for Annie hasn’t all been high flying. Exhausted after years of intense creative output, she moved to the Cook Islands in 1977 where she resided for seven years. There she took fresh inspiration from the environment and its people and began designing again.

She returned to Auckland in 1984, combining Pacific influences with her strong respect for New Zealand Mäori design – a regard she attributes largely to an early teacher of Mäori craft, the esteemed weaver, the late Dame Rangimarie Hetet.

While in New Zealand she continued her involvement with Cook Islands groups and tivaevae makers. But the allure of the islands eventually overwhelmed her and she sold her well-known Ponsonby boutique in 1996 to return to Rarotonga where she has lived ever since.

Annie will be attending the opening of Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion, which is timed to coincide with the World of Wearable Art 2006 show. This exhibition provides an opportunity to celebrate one of New Zealand’s fashion icons through displays of stunning garments and accessories, as well as audio-visuals that include recent interviews with Annie.

A reporter once described Annie’s Auckland boutique as a ‘magic garden’. Experience Annie’s colourful world for yourself!

Annie Bonza Fashion Explosion
22 September 2006 – September 2007
Eyelights Gallery, Level 4. Te Papa.
Free entry.


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