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Wellington Designers Shine at WOW Awards Show

Embargoed until Friday 26 August, 2011, 11.30pm

Wellington Designers Shine at WOW® Awards Show

Wellington designers shine at tonight’s Brancott Estate World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) Awards Show in Wellington, with five awards being won, and four Honorable Mentions.

Twenty nine Wellington designers had been finalists.

The winning Wellington designers were amongst 35 Brancott Estate WOW® winners, sharing the $150,000 prize pool. For the first time, there were also eight Honorable Mentions at WOW®.

The successful Wellington designers are: Sophie Littin, Katie Collier, Nicole Linnell, Ali Middleton, Sue Prescott, Fifi Colston, Ann Skelly, and Cherryl Marriott.

Sophie Littin, Ngaio. First prize, Student Design. Second prize, Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section.

Student Sophie Littin’s piece The Greatest Show won two prestigious awards; she was the top student finalist, and her garment came second in its category - the Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section. Earlier this year, Sophie was also a recipient of the AT & T World of WearableArt™ Student Exchange Scholarship and is currently studying Fashion Design at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Sophie describes her garment as a mysteriously dreamlike lady, unashamedly accompanied by a solo freak show.

“Since I was 11 years old and learnt to sew, the realisation that I could actually make clothes made me want to become a fashion designer,” Littin says. “In my WOW® entry, The Greatest Show, I decided to experiment with other materials and also draw on my other creative skills to incorporate into my work. I am very pleased with how the neck piece turned out, especially after all of the trial and error of hiccups, which in the end were overcome to create this beautiful contribution to The Greatest Show."

WOW founder and co-judge Suzie Moncrieff says she loves garment’s element of surprise.

“I love the feeling of surprise when the curtain rises on this garment to reveal an amazing painting,” Moncrieff says. “It also has a strong palette and is a beautiful theatrical piece”.

Express Open Section.

In 2010, student Nicole Linnell entered three garments in the competition. This year is her first placing, with her piece Proud To Wear The Pinny, which is inspired by the rigid lifestyle of a 1950’s housewife, and what may be expected of her.

Linnell says the piece is made from MDF – she wanted it to look as if it was made from a soft fabric, and yes is difficult to sit down and relax in, forcing the housewife to be as perfect as the ideal housewife.

“I try to use materials that are hard to work with, to push myself, ie. last year, condoms,” Linnell says. “I love being creative and am now doing fashion design at Massey. I look up to the work of the late Alexander McQueen, and his amazing way of mixing art with fashion."

Suzie Moncrieff says: “This garment is a very sculptural piece. It can be worn on the body or it could just as easily be a standalone piece that could hang on the wall. I like that she has used MDF, which is a hard material. The pinny and the bow accessories are fun, and have beautiful intricate patterns."

Ali Middleton, Seatoun. Mainfreight Packing Award. Honorable Mention, Air New Zealand Kiwi Icons Section.

Ali Middleton has entered WOW® every year since 2008 and her 2011 design Storyboards was inspired by Sam Hunt’s poem ‘Making Tracks’, honouring the men of the sea who’ve given their names to our landmarks.

“Roadside market signs and billboards that punctuate New Zealand’s roads and backroads are an iconic symbol of our visual culture,” Middleton says. “Having already inspired artworks by many New Zealand artists, they too inspire Storyboards. My sincere thanks to Sam Hunt for generously allowing me the privilege of using ‘Making Tracks’, and entrusting me with his inspired words, which so perfectly paint the stories of these men and their journeys."

Suzie Moncrieff says: “Storyboards is a wonderful piece of art, that works as wearableart but could also be hung comfortably on the wall. Ali has also done a wonderful job of thinking through her garment’s packing - how to minimize the space it takes up and how to store it safely and efficiently - the WOW® Wardrobe team were pleased to award her with the Mainfreight Packing award."

– some people throw away really good jeans,” she says. “Always keen to prevent land fills being filled, I decided to use these jeans to create a raw, authentic everyday bridegroom…playing on ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

Fifi Colston, Hataitai. Honorable Mention, Gen-i Creative Excellence: Under The Microscope.

Fifi Colston has entered 18 garments into the awards starting in 1995, and has been a runner up to a section or commended in a section five times at WOW®. Her entry this year, Vena Immaculata, is based on photos of cancer cells that reveal them to be like delicate frilled bouquets - beauty disguising the beast?

“When the Christchurch earthquake hit on 22nd February, my mother in law and her cousin came to stay with us,” Colston says. “They helped me sew red blood cells and enjoyed the occupational therapy and diversion from their situation. My son did the wiring for the cancer cell; each year he gets better at this sort of work. One day he’ll want a credit! His name is Rory Parkyn."

Ann Skelly, Miramar. Honorable Mention, Gen-i Creative Excellence Section: Under The Microscope.

Ann Skelly has entered WOW® every year since 2007, and was runner up in the Children’s section in 2008. Her 2011 entry Lady Bacilli Cocci shows how from the chaos of bacterial forms comes simplicity and order.

“The ‘Under the Microscope’ section was almost too exciting a place for me to be, with so many different paths I could have followed,” Skelly says. “In the end I decided to calm down and begin with some research on bacteria. I became inspired and determined to create something beautiful.

“There is nothing interesting about sitting on a couch cutting out 2000 bacterial shapes, followed by the threading of many more tiny spheres onto plastic strands…but then I am a WOW® entrant, so it’s normal around here."

Suzie Moncrieff says that all seven awards sections are remarkable this year, ensuring that Wellington’s 2011 Brancott Estate WOW® Awards Show is another outstanding success.

“There are so many incredible entries this year, making it one of the most difficult years to judge,” Moncrieff says. “The garments are of a very high standard, so we have added Honorable Mentions to some of the sections, as we felt these entries needed the recognition they deserved.

“I am also pleased that there is a good mix of experienced WOW® designers and first time entrants who have done well in this year’s awards, showing there is a depth of both past and new talent continually coming through WOW®.

“It is amazing to think that I held my first show back in 1987,” she says. “Today, with an incredible team behind it, WOW® is regarded as the best WearableArt Show in the world, which as New Zealanders makes us all proud."

At the 2011 WOW® Awards Show, this garment and all other winners and finalists are transported into a world of fantasy and surrealism, reminiscent of the work of the late Italian Film Director Fellini. The Show is two hours of wall-to-wall colour, energy and creativity, in a stunning choreographed performance featuring the full company of Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) dancers, professional dancers from Wellington’s Footnote Dance and the entire first year of the New Zealand School of Dance.

Every night, show goers are also treated to cameo appearances by celebrity guests – true New Zealand icons – during the Air New Zealand Kiwi Icons section.

There are still a few coveted tickets available to see this world-renowned show. To purchase go to www.worldofwearableart.com The World of WearableArt™ is a concept created in 1987 by Suzie Moncrieff, to take art off the wall and adorn the human form, then showcase each creation in a dramatic setting. A new way to experience art and fashion was born back then, and Suzie Moncrieff called it WearableArt™. The world renowned annual World of WearableArt Awards Show in Wellington is proudly a New Zealand event, and now attracts over a third of its entrants internationally, giving the event a global flavour.


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