Steampunk turns heads at awards
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."
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