When we were in Auckland, we visited the Auckland museum and came across an exhibition for WOW (World of Wearable Art). In 1987, WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff had an idea, she would get art off the walls and onto the body. Over 25 years later, thousands of artists have translated her vision into their own unique pieces of wearable art. These spectacular creations from WOW’s archives prove that the only limit to wearable art is the artist’s imagination. Some come from a technical challenge. Some show everyday materials transformed into something extraordinary. Some are aimed to simply delight the eye. WOW’s judges look for originality, creativity and skill in construction. Get up close to these exquisitely detailed artworks and you’ll see why they’re show-stoppers. What started as a promotion for a small rural gallery in 1987 has now gained an iconic status within New Zealand.
- “The garments don’t have to be commercially viable. They don’t have to take themselves seriously. They just have to be wearable.”
- “Wearable art enables designers to step out of the constraints of fashion and see the body as a blank canvas for any idea that comes to them. The more provocative, unorthodox and original, the better!”
Quotes from Dame Suzie Moncrieff, founder of WOW.
“The door is open to anything; painting, sculpture, textiles, costuming, engineering and even electronics. Any skill can be adapted to make wearable art, any idea can take shape on the body.” Adapted from Wearable Art: Design for the Body by Naomi O’Connor, Craig Potton Publishers, Nelson, 1996
As Salvador Dali once said, “The one thing the world the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.” If I had to pick one word to describe these creations it would certainly be outrageous but inventive, unbelievable and beautiful would also be on the list. There were also tender moments in the exhibition, like the Budgerigar Brassiere by Emily Valentine which commerates the death of her dearly loved birds. In her words, “inspired by the death of my “budgies”, they are close to my bosom”. This was one of the best exhibitions we have seen in a long time and you can see them in person in Nelson, New Zealand at the WOW museum (they also have cars). They had videos of the show playing which were even better, check out YouTube to see them. Starting in 2005 WOW is staged in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, with a number of performances from the end of September to the early part of October with designers from around the world. Consider getting a ticket and attend the show.
WOW Website: http://worldofwearableart.com/
WOW Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldofWearableArt
WOW YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/user/WorldofWearableArt
WOW Museum: http://www.wowcars.co.nz/