Wellington’s World of WearableArt Show
50,000 people descend upon Wellington to watch a spectacular two-hour presentation of art, dance, drama, music and comedy combined with breath-taking aerial feats. It’s the annual World of WearableArt™ (WOW), a highlight of the Wellington entertainment calendar, held over 12 spectacular nights. Sophisticated lighting and stage technology is fused with design, movement, drama and art. The show comprises a cast and crew of more than 400.
WOW first showed its face way back in the 80’s, 1987 to be precise. Suzie Moncrieff a sculptor in Nelson came up with the idea to promote a rural art gallery and in the process created a new genre of performance. For this first show an audience of 200 came to a community hall in Nelson to watch a show that took art off the wall and onto the stage.
Since its roots in Nelson it has grown into a phenomenon, now in its third decade. The World of WearableArt has taken advantage of lager venues and audiences by moving to Wellington in 2005. Over 300 designers from New Zealand and overseas – UK, USA, Australia, India, Thailand, Israel, Sweden, Fiji, The Netherlands, Canada and Germany – enter every year, with 170 finalists making it on to the stage. A mix of designers from fields such as film, drama, fashion, photography, design and art, as well as enthusiastic amateurs strive to make it on stage. There are 35 different awards on offer, approximately $150,000 in prize money and scholarships to international art academies and institutions. The biggest prize for many though, is having their garments exhibited with some of the world’s best wearable artists.
If you miss the show there is still an opportunity to see a range of garments from previous World of WearableArt competitions. Nelson is home to the world of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum where this wearable art is displayed with lighting and music to replicate the ‘feel’ of the show. The display at the museum is changed a couple of times a year, so it’s always an inspiring and refreshing visit.