Judges take a shine to WOW winner
Art Deco's influence on fashion, art and architecture came together in the supreme World of WearableArt winner.
Nelson designer Peter Wakeman's creation Diva's Dreamscape received the best in show nod at Friday night's WOW awards show.
The garment, fashioned from stainless steel, wood and fibreglass, also took the top prize in the Creative Excellence Architecture section, the new category memorialising the late Wellington architect Sir Ian Athfield.
The three judges, designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, Elam lecturer Greer Twiss and WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, came to a unanimous decision, Moncrieff said.
The design was an inspired reinterpretation of architecture, which is what its category asked of the garments, she said. "It was a very simple, well-made, beautiful piece that really shouted out Art Deco.
"It's quite plain at the front, but when it's turned, you're suddenly seeing this incredible architecture ... It can also stand alone as a sculpture by itself, and in a lot of ways that's what WearableArt has always been about."
Moncrieff said there were four entries that really stood out, with the judges' preference shifting from the close-up garment viewing to its performance in the stage show.
"I think this year was probably, in the history of WOW, the hardest year I've ever had."
Wakeman's win at this year's event follows his runner-up placing for the supreme award in 2013 for hot pink fibreglass dress Chica Under Glass. His latest achievement gives Wakeman two major prizes from just three entries, having never heard of WOW prior to 2012.
He was first inspired to enter after coming across a WOW design of saw blades and possum fur on display at Nelson airport, "taken by the freedom of creativity".
Wakeman said immediately after his win on Friday that he was "absolutely stunned" and did not really have the words to described how he felt.
"It just feels very unreal," he said. "After eight months of hard work it was great to see my garment on stage. It is just amazing."
A commercial cleaner and boat builder, Wakeman will receive $30,000 for his supreme award win.
The runner-up, Xi Zhang of China who created the feathery Deadly Beauty, will receive $12,000 in prize money.
The winner of the Costume and Film category, Joanna Peacock for her To Be Or Not To Be design shown by three models, would also be flown from her home in the United Kingdom to take part in a four-week internship at Weta Workshop as a reward.
A second one-month internship was offered this year at Cirque Du Soleil headquarters in Montreal. Taking this and the Performance Art Costume Award was Australia's Tess Tavener Hanks who designed the fluorescent Kaleidoscope.
Polish designer Ewelina Kosmal won the best new entrant prize for her nylon and pearl creation Brave New World.