The wonderful world of wearable art

I’ve been a bit absent from my blog lately, due to this business of life, but also I’ve been working frantically to complete two garments for this year’s World of Wearable Art in Wellington.  I mentioned it here, one of the conditions on entering is that no images are published until after the show season, so this has been one of those secret sneaky projects that I’ve been dying to share for ages.  And so it all turns out that my entries were, unfortunately, unsuccessful, STINK.  But now I can write about them and get on to some other possible ventures for them.

So here you go!

This little number is Hydra, she’s made out of Warehouse plastic bags, repurposed sheets and tulle, I managed to put this baby together without buying any new items, I did find a vintage long petticoat to wear underneath at an op shop, so that makes the materials cost $8.  Choice.

This garment was a bit of a wild card for me, I was looking at a number of different forms, but went with a structure similar to those that I have created with my hyperbolic crochet.  This made for a very full skirt, the bodice is firm and shaped to conform to a female form, with a high collar.  It moves well, and sounds great.  Not that comfortable to wear though.

I put together a few words about the concept behind Hydra, here:

Emerging from a hydrothermal vent, Hydra explores her domain…  Formed by my exploration of hyperbolic undersea organisms, Hydra is a hybrid of deadly plastic and organic motion.

Hydra is also the result of my experiments with plastic Warehouse bags, beginning in 2004. Her structure, both ridged, fragile and free flowing, reflects the varied polyps and coralline organisms that inhabit the hidden undersea world. A world of deadly predators on a microscopic scale, a world that is being infected by human waste, nano particles and degraded plastics.

The other garment I created is Coralline, I spent months making a beautiful woven mat when I was at art school, all those years ago, and once I had the guts to cut in to it, this was really fun.  I made a ‘cape’ which is very structured, as an accessory.

I played with the woven structure to fold some big box pleats, which I think worked so well, giving more of a sculptural form.

Here’s the other side..

The bodice is a lined boned corset, with a zipper at the back.  Here’s that full skirt.

Here’s the front, with the cape…

Coralline is also made from plastic bags, Foodtown supermarket bags this time, repurposed bridal fabric, I also picked up a second hand bridal petticoat for this one too.

Some words on the inspiration behind this garment:

A shimmering fantasy fashioned from post-consumer waste, the fabric used to create this garment is woven out of plastic Foodtown bags, collected in 2004, woven into one continuous piece of material, which will probably outlive the fabric lining of the bodice!

Coralline embodies my love of dress making, celebrating my whakapapa… my mother, and grandmothers, and their creativity.  It is this that has inspired my own journey into dress making, fashion and an obsession with fabulous textiles.

Structurally, it is an homage to two of my favourite designers, Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen artists who embodied luxury, excess and the extremely refined and sculpted female silhouette.

So I’m a bit gutted that I didn’t get a look in, it was a lot of fun, way, WAY too many late nights.  So good to be working towards something creative again, and can look back on some new skills that I applied in making these garments, as well as overcoming a few technical challenges.  A couple of years ago, when I started out seriously making my own clothes I never would have imagined I’d take on a challenge like this, not to mention the fact I did get it all done, and by the deadline, madness really.

As they say, one door closes and another one opens, so we’ll see what’s a head!


  1. Ange, those dresses are so amazing. They are stunning visually and reading about your inspiration and materials give them even more depth. I can really see the undersea world in that dress. And to have made something so beautiful out of waste material! You have done a fantastic job. I hope you can find somewhere else to exhibit them, as I’m sure others would appreciate seeing them too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s