WOW winner withdrawn after being labelled a copy

00:44, Oct 20 2012
Vladimir Kush
THE MONEY OR THE BAG: Vladimir Kush's oil painting Red Purse.

A "human" purse costume which won The Dominion Post People's Choice Award at this year's World of WearableArts has been withdrawn after it was discovered to be a copy.

Questions were raised about the originality of Wellington designer Paula Rowan's creation Velluto Rosso, which was a clear winner in the People's Choice Award, with 814 votes.

The costume bears a striking resemblance to Russian artist Vladimir Kush's oil painting Red Purse. Questions were raised about its authenticity after the media attention Rowan received.

Ms Rowan has surrendered the $1000 prizemoney and voluntarily withdrawn her garment from the competition, WOW chief executive Meg Matthews said.

"A friend contacted the artist and the artist made contact with us directly."

Ms Rowan was advised to voluntarily withdraw the garment because it needed to be disqualified."


"WOW outlines to designers when they enter the awards that their designs must be an original concept. It is very unfortunate this situation has arisen."

Ms Matthews said this was the first time there had been a copyright issue with an entry. Ms Rowan would be eligible to enter the awards in the future.

Ms Rowan told The Dominion Post she was "absolutely disappointed this had happened".

"I thought I had covered all the requirements of the garment entry but this had not been the case."

She previously said her design was inspired by "the glamour and luxury of a red velvet evening purse" and took two years to create, using velvet, fibreglass and 800 1 cent coins.

The runner-up, Massey University student Nicole Linnell, has been named the winner for her garment Rise from the Ruins, which received 447 votes.

Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney said the paper was disappointed for its readers who had entered the competition, but pleased the artist had surrendered her prize voluntarily.

The Dominion Post