Imagine a show where the art is alive – spidery silks, plush velvets, hand-made felts, luminous lycra and resinous forms. This is the World of Wearable Art where, as the promotions say, ‘art comes off the wall and on to the body’. Categories include an Open no limits Section, Bizarre Bras, Man Unleashed, Avant Garde and Creative Excellence, and each year these categories are to be interpreted differently. Previous winning entries have included corsets of bacon, paper lantern dresses, metallic tutus and gowns of steel rods, human chairs and a wool fleece duchess. But none of these words describe the experience. This is one show you have to see to believe – check out the clip from their website.
The Wearable Art Awards started in 1987 in a small village in rural Nelson, in the South Island. Within a few years it was filling the local Trafalgar Centre to capacity night after night and was drawing entrants, viewers and media from around the world. Local and national companies were clambering to fill sponsorship roles and the show had become a local success story. Much of this was due to the vision of the founder, Suzie Moncrieff (now Dame Suzie). A number of years ago the show was moved to Wellington, allowing it to be seen by much larger audiences.
Over the last 26 years the show has had:-
- 4500 garments shown on the stage show
- 6800 garments created and entered
- over 340,000 people see the show
- over $1 million awarded in prize money
- entrants from 23 countries.
Each year over 400 people work as crew, dancers and volunteers to make the show happen – easily done as Wellington is full of creative talent, aligned to its successful film industry. The World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum is in Nelson, recognising the roots of the event, so if you’re down that way you can check out previous winners, some sensational entries and some very cool cars.
Tickets go on sale each year in February for the 12 day September-October season. You can book online. The show is held in the TSB Arena on the Wellington waterfront. If you’re travelling by Wellington Airport rental car there is good parking at the venue.