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Judges named for WOW 2017

Kerrie Hughes and Michel Tuffery join Dame Suzie Moncrieff as WOW’s 2017 Judges
World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) has announced that fashion designer and artist Kerrie Hughes and artist Michel Tuffery have joined Dame Suzie Moncrieff as WOW’s 2017 competition judges.

The first round of judging, which selects the Competition finalists, has just been completed at the National WOW Museum in Nelson.

The finalists will now compete for the awards at the two further stages of judging, where the garments are judged on stage under performance conditions. At this point the judging panel will be joined by Sir Richard Taylor for Weta Workshop and Valerie Desjardins for Cirque du Soleil, who will be judging specific sections and awards. The finalists will be seen in performance by the public at the WOW Awards Show from 21 September to 8 October 2017 and will then move to the National WOW Museum for an exhibition, opening in December 2017.

The first round of judging is also when Show Director Kip Chapman sees the garments. For more than nine months now, Chapman and the production team have been planning and creating the world that will be on stage, including the sets, lighting and music. Now he and choreographers Victoria Colombus and Ross McCormack can begin to piece together how the garments will incorporated into the overall production design. The combination of an international design competition inside a spectacular stage production has proved compelling to audiences, and the WOW Awards Show is now New Zealand’s single largest annual theatrical production.

Competition Director Heather Palmer says it has been an incredibly busy weekend of judging. “We’ve had a fantastic time selecting the finalists, says Palmer. “It was particularly exciting to see the Red Section – and the designers have certainly stepped up to the challenge of making completely red garments. We know they’re going to look stunning in the Show in Wellington.

“Overall, the standard is really high, with many beautiful and innovative garments, as well as some humour. We’ve been doing this long enough to have the judging system running like clockwork, but we never cease to be amazed with the wondrous creativity of the garments and imagination of the designers.”

First Round of Judging for WOW Awards 2017
• Designers are competing for awards across six sections, including the three recurrent sections – Aotearoa New Zealand, Open and Avant-Garde, as well as three specific to 2017 – Red, Illumination Illusion and Weta Workshop Costume & Film / Science Fiction.
• There are almost 60 people involved in the first round of judging including the 3 judges, 13 models and 17 dressers, as well as makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, garment technicians and WOW’s wardrobe and managerial staff. Every garment is worn by a model, complete with fully styled hair and make-up. This ensures that each garment is presented at its best and in motion (not just on a mannequin).
• The judging is ‘closed’ throughout the entire process, meaning the judges aren’t told the designer’s name. The judges are briefed on materials, design, construction and inspiration for each garment.
The 2017 Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 18 July.

Every year for its judging panel, WOW draws on people with prestigious careers in fashion and art.

New Zealander Kerrie Hughes started her professional career as a fashion designer, and now paints large-scale forest landscapes.

Hughes studied fashion in Wellington in the late 70s, starting up two labels in the inner-city: Svelt and Siren. From there she moved to London to undertake an MA in Fashion at St. Martins School of Art. Hughes then established her Idol label in Soho, achieving success in sales across the UK, Europe and USA in the likes of Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Charivari. Idol also featured in Vogue, Tatler and Elle magazines, as well as on TV shows Absolutely Fabulous and Friends. Idol is in collections at Victoria and Albert Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa and The Dowse Art Museum.

On her return to New Zealand, Hughes pursued a career as an artist, with numerous exhibitions at Bowen Galleries in Wellington. And in a stroke of perfect timing, Hughes’s next exhibition at Bowen Galleries is from 25 September to 14 October 2017, overlapping the 2017 WOW Awards Show season.

Michel Tuffery is a New Zealand-based Pacific artist. His art embraces contemporary media, collaborating on site-specific architectural media and performance art installations that cross cultural boundaries and defy mainstream categorisation. He is renowned as a master printmaker, sculptor and painter, all the output of an artist who is a keen historian and active participant in contemporary culture. Tuffery’s artwork has been curated for major international exhibitions and public collections, qualifying him to undertake artist residencies in USA, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2008 Tuffery was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to art.

The artistic footprints of Tuffery’s art are iconic and significant, from his early career bull sculpture series ‘Povi Tau Vaga’ to his ‘First Contact’ body of work narrating Captain James Cook navigation throughout the Pacific. More recent projects include a two year social change art project, ‘Transforma’ partnered with Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Tuffery’s contribution to his home city was the creation of Nga Kina public sculpture at Kumutoto on Wellington’s waterfront. In 2016, Tuffery undertook an Artist in Residence at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, with the resulting collaborative artwork ‘Matariki – Māori New Year’ winning the prestigious 2017 Saatchi Gallery (London) Art Prize for Schools. The work was chosen from more than 24,000 entries from 66 countries.

This is the second time Tuffery has been a judge (previously in 2005) and WOW is very excited to have him back.

Tickets on sale now at www.worldofwearableart.com

WOW Key Dates:
7-9 July First judging (National WOW Museum, Nelson)
18 July Designers announced
3-20 September Second judging (onstage assessment) and Final judging (for the Awards)
21 September Opening night
22 September Awards night (Announcement of Award Winners)
8 October Closing night

MEDIA BACKGROUND
About the World of WearableArt (WOW)
One of New Zealand’s cultural success stories is the spectacular World of WearableArt (WOW). Created by Dame Suzie Moncrieff in 1987, WOW is alive 12-months of the year, with the annual international WearableArt design competition and Show in Wellington; year-round exhibitions at the National WOW Museum in Nelson; and a travelling international exhibition currently in North America.

At the core of WOW is an annual International Design Competition that each year attracts entries from more than 40 countries. The rules of competition mean that anything that is wearable can find a place on stage, as long as it is original, innovative and well-made. This means that WOW attracts some of the most creative people from around the world, working at the cutting edge of fashion, art, design, costume and theatre. WOW is a license to play, explore and experiment with resources and processes, with entrants using unexpected materials to create highly sophisticated garments incorporating everything from artisan craftsmanship to futuristic fabrication technologies.

Every September and October, WOW showcases the best of the competition with the WOW Awards Show, which takes over New Zealand’s vibrant capital city of Wellington in an explosion of creativity and fun. The three-week season of shows is completely different every year. In 2017, there will be 16 shows between 21 September and 8 October, with around 60,000 attendees.

National WOW Museum and Touring Exhibitions
Open year round, the National WOW Museum in Nelson attracts more than 40,000 annual visitors. The Museum showcases two collections in a suite of galleries, representing innovation in design; the WOW Competition Galleries and the Nelson Classic Car Collection.

Each year, the Competition finalists are exhibited at the National WOW Museum following their appearance on stage at the Wellington Show. Fans of the work are able to see the entries up close, and appreciate their construction and detailing.

The Nelson Classic Car Collection is a unique collection of more than 130 veteran, vintage and classic cars, representing more than 100 years of motoring. This eclectic, world-class private collection is one of Australasia’s largest, celebrating the art of motoring, and reflecting the changing times, trends, technology and events.

On the road since 2015, WOW’s international travelling exhibition showcases 32 award-winning garments curated to present the best of New Zealand’s creative activity to the world. While a growing number of international designers are aware of the WOW competition, the international WOW exhibition is the perfect conduit for introducing WOW to an international audience. With support from the New Zealand Government, the exhibition has delighted almost 700,000 visitors in Australia, and three US museums – Bishop Museum Hawaii, MoPOP in Seattle and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

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