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Chch sisters first two-time winners at WOW awards

Christchurch sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry won the supreme award at the 2018 World of WearableArt Awards, announced in Wellington last night.

Story from RNZ

Christchurch sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry won the World of WearableArt Awards in Wellington last night with their piece, War Story. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.

The pair’s garment, War Story, commemorates more than 128,000 New Zealand men and women who served in World War I, of whom 18,000 never returned.

It also won the Aotearoa award.

WearableArt founder and head judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff said War Story was described by judges as a “thought-provoking narrative” flawless in its execution, and powerful storytelling through a work of art.

This year’s judging panel included Dame Suzie, NOM*d creative director Margarita Robertson, Sam Gao and Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop, Nathalie Bouchard of Cirque du Soleil, and international guest judge Mary Wing To.

The supreme award-winning garment was made of recycled objects including old army and household blankets, salvaged rimu from demolished houses, old collected plastic toy soldiers, broken and crushed red bricks, and traded pieces of pounamu.

Ms English said they began planning the garment in 2014 and refined their ideas with the goal of getting it onstage in 2018 – the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Uplifting, by David Kirkpatrick, winner of the Bizarre Bra Award. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.

“We wanted to include many tangible memories as well, using recycled materials that have been either collected over the years, traded or salvaged to help imbue this art piece with memories for past, current and future generations.

“The badges and symbols of honour are now worn by our generation, which is a deserving remembrance in this centenary year.”

The sisters have become the first ever two-time Supreme WOW Award Winners, having taken the top award in 2013 for The Exchange, and have had six finalist garments on the WOW stage since they began entering in 2012.

This year’s show celebrates WOW’s 30th anniversary and features garments by 147 designers from a record number of 17 countries.

Designers from eight countries have won awards at the event, which combined wearable art design with a stage show. Each year it attracted an annual audience of around 60,000 people.

The concept was launched in Nelson by Dame Suzie in 1987, as a way to take art off the wall and onto the human form.

Foreign Bodies, by Dawn Mostow & Ben Gould (United States), Overall Winner of the International Award.

Over the past three decades, WOW had attracted cutting edge creative designers from across the globe and has showcased designs by professionals from the fashion, art, design, costume and theatre industries, alongside students and first-time enthusiasts.

Dame Suzie said WOW provided an opportunity for creative people to experiment, push boundaries and explore design, materials and techniques.

This year’s show, presented as a series of Six Worlds, featured the traditional categories of avant-garde, Aotearoa and the biennial Bizarre Bra.

Dame Suzie said garments that ended up on stage were selected by a three-stage judging process beginning in July. The garments were assessed for detail as well as their performance features on stage.

World of WearableArt is on at TSB Arena until 14 October.

Kākāpō Queen, by Stephanie Cossens, runner-up in the Emerging Artist Award. Photo: Supplied / World of WearableArt.