This one time in Wellington… The Montana World of Wearable Art Show 2009


Pictured above: ‘Screen Play’ by Amy Jean Boebel & Sue Hobby
and ‘Second Skin’ by Hayley May & Fiona Christie.

Gareth Pugh, Romance was Born and Chris March eat your heart out. There is an entire movement which has nurtured the skill of creating art as fashion pieces. You may not walk down the street in their designs (much like a lot of Pugh’s runway pieces) but then again you wouldn’t walk down the street with Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa either.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to be flown to Wellington, New Zealand to attend the fashion show spectacular known as The Montana World of Wearable Art. In its 21st year, the event drew over 300 entries from all corners of the world, of which 165 were accepted and shown in a fantastical fashion show like no other. It was a little Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and a little Gareth Pugh at Paris Fashion Week – with a PG 13 rating of course.

It was an amazing display of the amazing artistry and creativity that designers can possess, with so many creations choosing to break the boundaries of fashion convention to use unusual items like human hair, 2,000 rabbit tails, jigsaw pieces, TV aerials, plastic milk bottles and other items you wouldn’t normally see in a fashion studio.

So many pieces caught my eye in the fantastical show, with the most astounding creation by Alaskan artist and carpenter David Walker winning the Grand Surpreme award 2009 with his Lady of Wood creation (pictured below left). The 17th century inspired ball gown was created entirely out of mahogany and lacewood with 52 strips of maple and cedar venar making up the hooped skirt alone.

My personal favourite was Second Skin (above right), which was the runner up in the Grand Supreme Award and winner of the Gen-I Award. It’s creators Hayley May & Fiona Christie took the Gen-I theme of ‘fold’ and created this reptilian creature which creases, wrinkled and folded like it could have been a real animal. A distant cousin to some of the more elaborate looking lizards perhaps?

Meanwhile other stand outs for me was Screen Play by Amy Jean Boebel & Sue Hobby (above left) which was commended in the Gen-I award, American Dream by Sarah Thomas (below right) which won the WETA award & the American Express Open section, AM I I AM by Rodney Leong (below middle) the runner up in Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section.

wow09-Lady-Of-The-Wood wow09-AM-I-I-AM wow09-American-Dream

Photos supplied by World of Wearable Art Ltd.

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More from the ‘This one time in Wellington’ series:

Cuba street, the sights sounds and eccentricities
Yayoi Kusama: The Mirrored Years exhibition
It’s time to do some shopping

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The Montana World of Wearable Art show will be running at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington New Zealand until October 4 2009. was flown to Wellington thanks to Positively Wellington Tourism by Air New Zealand and stayed as a guest of the Bolton Hotel.


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