Two sisters from Christchurch, New Zealand, Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, have become the first people to win the World of Wearable Art’s (WOW) Supreme Award twice, as the results were announced tonight at the TSB Arena in Wellington.
English and Meharry’s War Story, or, to give it its correct styling, WAR sTOrY, is made up of recycled items, including plastic toy soldiers, crushed red bricks, salvaged rimu from demolished houses, traded pieces of pounamu, and army and household blankets. The work commemorates the 128,000 New Zealanders who served in World War I and the 18,000 who died on active service, and required two models, one on a wheeled cart.
They began planning their entry in 2014, the centenary of the start of the Great War, with an aim of showing it at WOW in 2018, the centenary of the war’s end.
War Story also won the Aotearoa section of the competition.
They won in 2013 for The Exchange and were runners-up in 2016 for Baroque Star.
Lucire fashion editor Sopheak Seng, who attended the awards’ night, said this year’s event was the ‘best one in a long time,’ and had also picked War Story as his favourite. ‘It is one of the most beautiful and moving,’ he said. ‘Impeccably made, a beautiful story, and it made me cry when it showed there was a person on the cart.’
He also listed Tar’White by Ali Middleton of Wellington, Quantum by Spanish designer Annabelle Widmann of Santa Eulalia, Ibiza, and Echoplex—Goddess of Reverb, by Natalie Hutton, Melbourne, Vic. as his picks of this year’s entries.
Dame Suzie Moncrieff, the founder of the event, said that War Story is ‘a garment that the judges described as an exceptional example of powerful storytelling realized through a work of art. An entry that the judges described as an exceptionally compelling realization of a thought-provoking narrative that is flawless in its execution.’
Judges this year were Dame Suzie, Nom D’s Margarita Robertson, Weta Workshop art director Sam Gao, Weta Workshop CEO and Academy Award winner Sir Richard Taylor, Cirque du Soleil’s Nathalie Bouchard, and international guest judge and 2011 WOW Supreme Award winner, Mary Wing To.
WOW attracted entries this year from 44 countries, and a record 17 countries and regions were represented in the show. The show featured 140 finalist garments from 147 designers.
The show is presented as six “worlds”, with Avant-garde, Aotearoa and Open sections as usual, and Under the Microscope and Reflective Surfaces added this year. The biennial Bizarre Bra section returned for this year.
The World of Wearable Art show runs from September 27 to October 14, with tickets available through worldofwearableart.com. It is expected that 60,000 will see the show annually, with 40,000 travelling to Wellington from around New Zealand and abroad.
War Story, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, Christchurch, New Zealand (also winning the Aotearoa section).
Ernst Haeckel’s Bride, by Nika Danielska, Wrocław.
Dame Suzie Moncrieff Award
Mind the Synaptic Gap, by Grace DuVal, Chicago, Ill.
International Design Award
Foreign Bodies, by Dawn Mostow and Ben Gould, Seattle, Wa. (also winning the International Design Award for the Americas).
Underling, by Gillian Saunders, Nelson.
Bizarre Bra section
Uplifting, by David Kirkpatrick, Waikato.
Echoplex—Goddess of Reverb, by Natalie Hutton, Melbourne, Vic.
Reflective Surfaces section
The Wise Athena, by Lau Siu San and Cathy Sin Wei Chow, Hong Kong.
New Zealand Design Award
Eye See You Fluffy Kōwhai, by Tina Hutchinson-Thomas, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Other regions’ International Awards
Absinthium, by R. R. Pascoe, Blue Mountains, NSW (Australia and Pacific Design Award).
Blue Star, by Adam McAlavey, London, England (UK and Europe Design Award).
Cirque du Soleil Invited Artisan Award
Quantum, by Annabelle Widmann, Santa Eulalia, Ibiza.
First-time Entrant Award
Hide and Seek, by Mingzhang Sun (London College of Design), London, England.
Student Innovation Award
Shell, by Zhang Qiyao, Shanghai.
Something Fishy: a Man-Eater Double Feature, by Wendy Moyer, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
Wearable Technology Award
236 Maiden Lane, by Lynn Christiansen, San Francisco, Calif.
Weta Workshop Emerging Designer Award
Spirit Bone, by Guo Xiao Tong, Beijing.
Backstage with make-up artists from Te Auaha
Highlights from the World of Wearable Art 2018 show