Thursday, August 25, 2011 5:00 PM
Last night I was one of the lucky who got to see the WOW before the masses descend on the show. We were treated to the full dress rehearsal and it was a delicious indulgence from the appetiser, through the main course, right through to the dessert. (In fact I’d have liked a double helping of that pav!) YUM!
(I’m not planning on putting any major spoilers in this post so read on with confidence.)
Upon arrival at the Event’s Centre (not my fave Wellington venue BTW) the scene is set with all manner of elaborately dressed creatures interacting with the crowd and generally getting into mischief. Crazy chefs, scary murderous barbers, stallions and mares providing nourishing entertainment to the excitable crowd.
At the very beginning of the night’s entertainment the crazy chefs appear in the crowd and instruct the audience to turn off their phones or they will make a blackberry pie with them. A very clever joke and it got a great laugh. I suggest the chef makes a blackberry AND apple pie – then they will cover the two major types of phones in the one pie. (Let’s see if they take it up).
Continuing with the kitchen premise the first section is the food themed kids section. Last night the audience was filled with very proud parents – whose children were modelling the incredible pieces. The kids we amazing performers and although I wasn’t related to any, I knew some parents in the audience and I was proud for them! They all did an amazing job. I loved the cookie cutters, the food pyramid (Hijinx in the Hierarchy) and the fairy bread as they all reminded me of my childhood and I have to confess I still make fairy bread from time to time for afternoon tea. My favourite for this section was a cleverly constructed apple, complete with core, seed, and cut out sections. It was being eaten by a very happy looking worm and is titled 'Have it before he does!'.
My tip for new WOW attendees is that I STRONGLY recommend buying yourself a programme as the full appreciation of each entry comes when you know its name. SOem of the names are hilarious - so you don't want to miss the joke completely!
Choosing a favourite garment is never easy. After the show my friends and I remarked on how we kept seeing amazing pieces and thinking to ourselves “ohh this is my favourite’ then not long after that – we’d see a new favourite. For me this kept happening through the whole show to the point where I forgot what my first favourite even looks like. Thank goodness I am not a judge; it must be so very difficult to choose. From the vantage point of the audience the way the garment is modelled and bought to life has a huge impact on how much attention it got (one of the scantily clad male models in the Groom revisited section stole the show not just because of the amount of skin on display – but what he could do with it. An in-joke, you’ll have to see the show to know what I am referring to – but it was a huge hit).
I do know that when the judges are making their decision they need to take all kinds of things into consideration and one of the biggest is longevity and strength as the pieces needs to be able to literally tour the world in the WOW showcase as a winner and so it need to be able to withstand packing, unpacking, displaying, show after show and then go on display in a museum so I am always excited to see which pieces wins people’s choice. I liked too many to have a clear favourite this year – which is a reflection on how high the standard is this year.
The huge stand out for me theatrically was the ‘chairs’ dance piece with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It was clever, passionate, elegant and beautiful. To me dance is such a beautiful art form as it is so very intense and only to be savored in that exact moment. I have to confess I didn’t see too much of that section as far as WOW pieces go as I was transfixed, almost hypnotised by the beautiful dancing.
My favourite section has to be the under the microscope section. The depth of imagination, the creativity and the execution of the ideas needs to be seen to be believed. And the pieces of micro-organisms, cells, nuclei, and bacteria were bought to life in such a brilliant and life-like way that at times I felt almost like I was in a Lilliputian world.
The final section was titled Kiwi Icons and while I adored it and would love to see it again because it had such a familiar and homely feeling, I worry that any international visitors will miss so much of the symbolism and the nostalgia that the kiwi icons represented. For how can you reminisce about something if you weren’t there to see it in the first place? There was a ‘spot the iconic Kiwi celebrity’ moment that visitors just won’t understand. While the section was beautiful and hilarious in parts the whole section might just be an in joke to Kiwis and leave visitors out in the cold. Something to think about for future themes perhaps if the show has its eyes on an international future.
I ooohed and ahhhed too many times to count and the cameos human and otherwise were a huge hit with the audience.
My favourite in this section was a garment made with what looked to be a vintage wool blanket titled 'I wool survive'. A priceless pun.
I won’t share any more as it is difficult to talk about the show and NOT share some of the surprises of which there are many. I promise you’ll find yourself saying “WOW!” too many times to count. For me the WOW shows are as important and as iconic a part of us as seeing the All Blacks playing live. This is an event not to be missed and needs to be seen at least once, if not more by each and every New Zealander.
The amount of talent on the stage, behind the scenes and involved in the show is of an incredible scale and you’d have to be crazy or already locked away in one of our institutions not to go. Usually a sell-out – this year there are still tickets available to some shows so be sure and visit the website http://www.worldofwearableart.com/designers/sections to see if tickets are still available.
And if you want to know more about WOW and find out the who, where and why of the judging be sure and catch the WOW Judges’ Forum - Saturday 27 August, 11am Te Marae, Level 4, Te Papa.
What was your favourite WOW piece?
Let me know your thoughts on WOW 2011 - many people I have spoken to are saying that it is the best one yet!