Visual Extravaganza in Wellington to WOW everyone

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 5 October 2022

“I think fashion can do a lot. Fashion is very popular, so it can help broadcast a message and reach a new generation” Said Maria Grazia Chiuri.

 And many such bold messages are broadcasted for the World to witness at the World Of Wearable Arts Award show every year in Wellington, New Zealand.

With over 100 designers from 20 countries and regions around the world selected as the finalists for the 2021 WOW Awards Show, the event was devastatingly cancelled just weeks before opening due to COVID-19. Aetatem Aureum: Elizabeth & her Lady by Carolyn Gibson, Joelle March of New Zealand(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for World of WearableArt)

WOW Founder and resident judge, Dame Suzie Moncrieff says, “After two difficult years of having to cancel WOW shows, we are looking forward to bringing back the magic of our theatrical event, and celebrating our amazing designers from all over the world and their incredible garments. We welcome  our audiences back to Wellington and can’t wait to take them on a spectacular journey of theatre, art and design.”

2022 surely came in as a renewal of energy for all the designers as well as organisers, who made sure the event was better and bigger than before. With Prime Minister Jacinda Arden as the surprise act for the awards night, the organisers made sure all artists received their due visibility and recognition.

The capital city of Wellington will host an audience of over 60,000 from across the country, with designers coming from across the world to witness the sheer hard work and creative boldness from all teams involved. Digitally Grown by Dylan Mulder of New Zealand is worn by Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for World of WearableArt)

This year, with the collaboration of the Executive Creative Director Brian Burke whose experience spans the international stage from Las Vegas and Broadway to the Sydney Opera House, alongside Show Director New Zealand’s Malia Johnston, each night the stage will come alive with incredible works of wearable art, dancers, aerialists, and foot-tapping beats created by music director Paul McLaney and composer Eden Mulholland. A digital effects team from Belgium, Drop the Spoon, will add to the spectacle with breath-taking AV creations.

Wanton Widow, Kate Mackenzie, New Zealand (Photo credit: Stephen A’Court)

The 2022 Show includes over 100 dancers, kapa haka performers (Ngāti Pōneke) and aerialists, as well as spectacular headline performances by New Zealand musicians Estère, and Sharn Te Pou.

The show is known in the Fashion, Design & Visual Art circles for breaking barriers of creativity and setting new dimensions of space, storytelling and expression through varied mediums, whether it’s the stagecraft, the performances, the designs or the sheer amalgamation of varied creative expressions. Fara Dei, Fifi Colston & Bruce Mahalski, New Zealand (photo supplied)

WOW Competition Director Heather Palmer says, “I have seen thousands of entries over the past 30 years, and the innovation and imagination of our designers never ceases to amaze me. Every year we see new perspectives and fresh approaches to wearable art, and just when I think I might have seen it all, a garment comes in that is completely unexpected and like nothing we’ve seen before.

“Creating an entry for WOW is a significant creative challenge for designers at the best of times but it is especially humbling to look at the work of our 2022 finalists and know about the resilience and determination that they’ve all needed to complete their works of wearable art in the midst of a pandemic.”

Every year, WOW receives entries from more than 40 countries and regions around the world. 20 countries and regions are represented in the 2022 finalists – Australia, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.Winner of International Design Award, Asia was Neoru, Jyoti Saraf, India (Photo Supplied)

This year, the winner of the Supreme WOW Award was Wanton Widow by Kate Mckenzie, New Zealand while the runner-up was “Fara Dei” by Fifi Colston & Bruce Mahalski, New Zealand. In a proud moment, International Design Award (Asia category) was “Neoru” by Jyoti Saraf, Pearl Academy, Delhi.

With the WOW show running till the 16th of October, 2022 and many activities for everyone in Wellington these School Holidays, this is one show which is highly recommended.

Praneeta Mahajan is our Waikato Reporter based in Hamilton.

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