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Persistence pays off for Cult-Couture winner

Media Release
4 November 2008

Persistence pays off for Villa Maria Cult-Couture Awards winner

Manurewa designer Visesio ‘Louis’ Thomsen proved that persistence pays when he took home the premier prize in this year’s Villa Maria Cult-Couture Awards with his garment Le Tatau Bride.

Louis has been after the award for the past five years and event manager Chantelle Whaiapu says he truly deserves the win.

“We’re thrilled to have a Manukau designer take home the premier award and even more so that Louis’ garment was chosen as he has been one of our most loyal supporters.

“He was up against some tough opposition this year with entries coming from as far afield as the South Island, Wellington and the Bay of Islands”.

Louis was a triple winner this year with his entry winning the Matrimonial Bliss category. His additional design, Futuristic Island Princess, also won the Manukau Designer Award.

Judges Rachael Churchward from MiNDFOOD magazine and designers Adrian Hailwood and Jaeha-Alex Kim described Le Tatau Bride as being "strong, beautiful and alluring in its use of Samoan concepts and design."

Successful 2007 designers Auckland’s Margaret Lewis, Maxine Wooldridge and Jeanine Clarkin received recognition again this year. Margaret’s Quilted Dream took home the On the Streets category and Maxine’s Blue and White Porcelain design won the Flight of Fantasy award. Jeanine picked up a highly commended in the Recycled Revolution category.

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2006 Premier Award winner Donna Campbell made a welcome return to take out the top award in the Obviously Organic category with her design Hot Az.

A full list of winners is attached.

An initiative of Manukau City Council, run by Manukau City Arts with sponsorship from Villa Maria Estate, Villa Maria Cult-Couture is becoming recognised as an established icon on the fashion design calendar and is one of the feature events in the inaugural Manukau Festival of Arts.

This year’s awards were held over two sell-out nights at Manukau’s TelstraClear Pacific events centre. A special preview show on Friday night was followed by the grand finale and awards night on Saturday. Both shows were accompanied by top class entertainment including guest performances from Mere Boynton, Vivah and Stars in Your Eyes finalist Cindy of Samoa.

Proudly presented by Villa Maria Estate and Manukau City Council, Villa Maria Cult-Couture receives generous support from its category sponsors: Armourguard Security Limited, Datacom, Davis Langdon, Downer EDI Works Limited, Opus International Consultants Limited, GHD, Manukau City Council Waste Management and Meredith Connell.


About the festival:
The Manukau Festival of Arts 08 is an inaugural event for audiences of all ages and backgrounds from around the Auckland region to experience the energy of the arts in Manukau through a diverse range of exciting festival events.

Between 30 October and 17 November the Manukau Festival of Arts will showcase more than 30 exciting events around the city – exhibitions, youth events, music, dance, fashion, comedy and a film festival. All the details are on

Villa Maria Cult-Couture 2008 List of Winners

Awards Night - Saturday 1 November 2008, 7.30pm
Genesis Energy Theatre, TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Manukau

Rachael Churchward, fashion editor
Adrian Hailwood, designer
Jaeha Alex Kim, designer

List of Winners, Runner Up and Highly Commended Designers:

Visesio Louis Thomsen for Le Tatau Bride
Presented by Villa Maria Estate

Visesio Louis Thomsen for Futuristic Island Princess
Presented by Manukau City Council

Winner: Lisa Li for Blue and White Porcelain
Runner Up: Maxine Wooldridge & Kirsten Leitch for The Iron Maiden
Highly Commended: Helen Millen for Zeenat of the Chakras
Presented by Downer EDI Works Limited and Opus International Consultants Limited

Winner: Karen Chan for Harmony
Runner Up: Sean Kuo for Scottish Night
Highly Commended: Anna Von Hartitzsch for Home is Where the Hills Roll and the Kowhai Bloom
Presented by Davis Langdon

Winner: Donna Campbell for Hot Az
Runner Up: Min Oliver for Lucid
Highly Commended: Amiria Skipworth for Manu Kahurangi
Presented by Datacom

Winner: Jackie Stoddard for A Stitch in Time
Runner Up: Heather Docherty for Cultured Purl
Highly Commended: Jeanine Clarkin for Karetao
Presented by GHD Limited and Manukau City Council Waste Management

Winner: Margaret Lewis for Quilted Dream
Runner Up: Tasha Simpson for Victoria Meets the Street
Highly Commended: Maxine Wooldridge & Kirstin Leitch for Little Akazukin
Presented by Armourguard Security Limited

Winner: Visesio Louis Thomsen for Le Tatau Bride
Runner Up: Tutina Pasene for Tangaroa
Highly Commended: Donna Philburn for Totally Wrapped
Presented by Meredith Connell


Successful designers are from:

Amiria Skipworth (Papatoetoe)
Donna Philburn (Weymouth)
Heather Docherty (Morningside)
Lisa Li (Bucklands Beach)
Visesio Louis Thomsen (Manurewa)

Jeanine Clarkin (Waiheke Island)
Karen Chan (Auckland)
Margaret Lewis (Westmere)
Maxine Wooldridge & Kirsten Leitch (Glen Innes)
Sean Kuo (Auckland)

Anna Von Hartitzsch (Wellington)
Donna Campbell (Hamilton)
Jackie Stoddard (Bay of Islands)
Tasha Simpson (Wanganui)
Tutina Pasene (Otaki)

Helen Millen (Greymouth)
Min Oliver (Dunedin)

© Scoop Media

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