Fantasy and Design: World of Wearable Art 2017

World of Wearable Art is a unique stage show and international competition held here in Wellington.  It is hard to describe, as it combines dance, theatre, design and music in quite a special way.  Using the human body as a sort of blank canvas, designers create works of wearable art which is then ‘exhibited’ in a performance which draws audiences of over 60,000 over a two week period.

This is the fourth time I have been, and I was not disappointed.  This year, as well as displays of past costumes displayed outside the venue, there were mock demonstrators protesting against imagination and wishing for a beige world – no to fun indeed!

Demonstrating against fun
Beige and Proud

The sections this year were Aotearoa, a celebration of all things New Zealand; the Avant-Garde section where anything goes; the Science Fiction Section; the Red Section; The Illumination Illusion Section and the Open Section.  There are prizes for each section, plus additional regional prizes, internship awards at Cirque de Soleil and Weta Workshop, and an overall winner. There is a kind of story woven through the performance (a woman discovering her true self) but that is not really the central element of the event.  Dance, however, is a key part of the show, with some of the dancers from the New Zealand School of Dance and Footnote Dance. The choreography was by Tor Columbus and Ross McCormack, and this year’s pre-show band was Sulco d’Alma.

Anyway, below are some of the winners. All photographs from the World of WearableArt website.  A costume made with belts was chosen by WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff as the garment that “epitomises the WOW spirit”. The winner, 222 Buckle Belts, was designed by Annina Gull from Switzerland.

One of my favourites
The Spirit of Waitomo
Maria Tsopanaki & Dimitri Mavinis, UK

The supreme winner this year was Rinaldy Yunardi from Indonesia with Encapsulate, a garment shaped like a capsule in two halves, made of plastic ropes and LEDs.

The supreme winner

Do go and check out the website for more information, and who knows, maybe you will feel like entering a design next year…

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on









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