Steampunk turns heads at awards

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014
 Simone Montgomery
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Port Chalmers woman Simone Montgomery won the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards Southland Times Award of Excellence with this steampunk creation. 

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Among the glitz and glamour and the scores of black-clad audience members, a trio of steampunk punters turned heads at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

When Port Chalmers woman Simone Montgomery took to the stage of the 26th awards to claim the steampunk category award, sighs of recognition rang throughout the the room.

Montgomery was decked out in full steampunk - Victorian-era-science fiction attire.

With a clear passion for the style, it comes as no wonder it transferred into her elaborate design which went on to be crowned The Southland Times overall Award of Excellence.

The steampunk creation was as complex as it was polished and had an added dimension of an opening booty chest - handy for putting things in while you're time-travelling, Montgomery said.

A long-time fan of costume and design, Montgomery had been involved in the Nelson Wearable Arts for many years and participated in Oamaru's thriving steampunk subculture.

She spent about a month pulling the garment together from a collection of odds and ends picked up at various op shops around the region.

Most of the elements of her garment were recycled, something that was very important to her, she said.

"A lot of fashion you see today is slave labour, mass produced and not really good for the environment."

Creating outfits from salvaged bits and pieces was her way of countering this "one garment at a time".

An organiser for the New Zealand Nurses' Association, Montgomery said winning the award would probably be the pinnacle of her fashion career and she was ready to have a well earned rest.

"The last night I stayed up working on it solidly all night. Obviously it was well worth it."

Her winning design was one of about 300 designs on display at Southland's premier fashion design awards.

Executive director Heather Paterson said the winning design was a great example of steampunk flair.

"She'd made it fabulously. I'm a big fan of steampunk designs."

Paterson was overwhelmed by the gala evening, the main event of the fashion awards, and deemed it the best event yet.

"It's funny every year we say that and we wonder how we can possibly top it the following year. We just keep striving for perfection."

She credited the backstage team of volunteers for their hard work in pulling everything together.

"It's just been awesome really. Everyone has been so relaxed and calm about everything and the whole weekend has just run so smoothly."

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THE WINNERS

Open Streetwear: Heather Brennan Evans – Christchurch

Open Wool Award: Daphne Randle – Alexandra

Steampunk award: Simone Montgomery – Dunedin

Open Collections section: Ashley Miella – Auckland

Open Recycled section: Ruth Bucknell – Masterton

Menswear section: Viv Tamblyn – Gore

Open Nightlife section: Bethany Wilson – Dunedin

Best use of fabric award: Grace Evania – Wairoa

Hand Knitted award: Daphne Randle – Alexandra Machine

Knitted award: Viv Tamblyn – Gore Auaha

Cultural Award: Misty Ratima – Napier

Best Southland Designer Award: Barbara Ramsey – Gore

Young Designer Award: Heather Brennan Evans – Christchurch

Schools Section Overall winner: Lucy Heffernan – Wellington

East Girls College Streetwear Award: Lucy Heffernan

Nightlife Award: Jara Katzur

Recycled Award: Amy Lauridsen 

- The Southland Times

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