Continuing a tradition of having a surprise guest, this year’s World of Wearable Art Awards (WOW) in Wellington, New Zealand, saw the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern make an appearance on stage modelling at the all-important awards’ ceremony night.
Ardern closed the Aotearoa section of the show wearing Digitally Grown, created by Dylan Mulder, and was very well received by a surprised audience at the TSB Arena.
Prior to this, Helen Clark had made an appearance on stage in 2002 when she was New Zealand’s prime minister.
The 2022 show proved to be a beacon of hope to showcase the power of art during trying times globally, a reminder of how art and creativity can shine in times of darkness. It was one of the best shows the organizers of WOW had done for a while.
At the end of the evening, it was announced that the 2014 World of Wearable Art Awards winner Kate MacKenzie had won the Supreme Award for a second time, for her work Wanton Widow, netting her the top NZ$30,000 prize. MacKenzie, who hails from Hawke’s Bay, entered and won the Open section (a NZ$6,000 prize) with her creation, complete with armour, a mourning cap, and a wheel in tow.
The judges said, ‘We are in awe of the designer’s resourcefulness in use of the vintage china cabinet and Singer sewing machine drawers. It perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art. It is refined, sculptural and tells a story.’
The Open section, along with Aotearoa and Avant-garde, returned from previous years, and were joined by Architecture, Elizabethan Era, and Monochromatic for 2022. All up were NZ$185,000 of prize money.
The first round of judging to select the finalists took place in 2021, by a panel comprising WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Zambesi designer and co-founder Elisabeth Findlay, sculptor Jeff Thomson, Academy Award-winning (for Elizabeth: the Golden Age) costume designer Alexandra Byrne (Persuasion, Finding Neverland, Thor, Doctor Strange, Murder on the Orient Express , Emma ), costume designer and creative director B. Åkerlund, and co-founder, CEO and creative director of Wētā Workshop, five-time Academy Award winner Sir Richard Taylor.
The judges do not see the identity of the creator of each piece. It is only afterwards that they find out who it is.
Held at the TSB Arena in Wellington, the World of Wearable Art Awards’ show has cemented its reputation as one of the world’s foremost wearable art events, and a stage spectacular. This year’s show has over 100 dancers, kapa haka performers from Ngāti Pōneke, and aerialists. Musicians Estère and Sharn Te Pou feature.
The show will continue to take place at the Arena for the next three weeks, till October 16. It is expected to attract 60,000 people to the venue, with 35,000 travelling from outside Wellington. Tickets are still on sale at www.worldofwearableart.com.
Winners for 2022
A full awards’ list goes online at www.worldofwearableart.com from 1000 UTC (11 p.m. NZDT) on Friday, September 30.
Sopheak Seng is fashion and beauty editor of Lucire.