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Up Close and Personal with World of WearableArt

Dec 8, 2020  ·  5 min read

No stranger to boundary-pushing creativity ourselves, at QT we’re big fans of World of WearableArt and their annual competition. While the universe had other plans this year, the creative and resourceful minds behind WOW have a little something different up their sleeves.

We caught up with WOW’s marketing maven, Andrea Breton, about World of WearableArt – Up Close coming to Te Papa 12 December 2020 to 14 February 2021, plus the beautiful Bronze Knight garment on display in our Lobby Lounge, with a cocktail to match.

What a year! Tell us a bit about how you’ve had to rethink bringing World of WearableArt to life in Wellington in 2020…  

We were so disappointed to have to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 World of WearableArt Awards Competition and Show earlier this year, due to the impact of COVID-19. This is the first time we have cancelled our Competition and Show in our 32-year history and was not a decision that was taken lightly.

But at the heart of World of WearableArt is an unwavering commitment to creativity, we strive to provide designers from around the world with the opportunity to see their works of wearable art presented and profiled in the most extraordinary of ways, and of course we want to bring this joy of creativity to Wellington and New Zealanders.

We’ve worked closely with Te Papa and our core partner WellingtonNZ to create something truly unique and special for Wellington in 2020 with an exclusive, bespoke exhibition at Te Papa from 12 December 2020 – 14 February 2021. The exhibition has been designed to be an immersive, theatrical experience for visitors, and is not going to be like anything we have done before!

You landed at this amazing new concept, World of WearableArt – Up Close at Te Papa. What are you most excited about?

The craftsmanship and detail that goes in to creating a work of wearable art is incredible, and something that you don’t always get to appreciate when a garment is on stage in the Show. With World of WearableArt – Up Close, we’re excited to be doing exactly that, we’re offering people the opportunity to really get up close to some of the most breath-taking garments that we’ve seen in the Competition over the years.

Each garment carries its own extraordinary story, woven from the passion, heart and mind of its designer. Bringing these stories to life has been our focus for the exhibition and we can’t wait to share them with everyone.

We know you can’t play favourites… but what are your picks for can’t-miss garments to look out for in the exhibit?

There are over thirty-five award-winning garments on display in this exhibition, so there are a lot to look out for! You can get up close to six Supreme WOW Award-winning garments, including the oldest garment in the exhibition from 2002 – Persephone’s Descent by Stuart Johnson of New Zealand, and the most recent Supreme WOW Award-winner from 2019 – The Lady Warrior by Rinaldy Yunardi of Indonesia.

You can also expect to see a garment created from 500 tents that were abandoned at music festivals (Woven In-tent, Kirsten Fletcher, Australia) a garment made using an old Axminster carpet  that the designer bought on Trade Me (Axminstress, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand) and a garment constructed from over 2,300 individually laser-cut pieces of felt (Gothic Habit, Lynn Christiansen, United States).

At QT, we’re so lucky to have Bronze Knight on display in our Lobby (and of course a cocktail inspired by the garment!). What’s the story behind this garment?

Bronze Knight is a beautiful garment that was entered in the Avant-garde Section in the 2015 Competition. The garment was created by London-based designers Maria Tsopanaki & Dimitri Mavinis. In 2011 Maria & Dimitri launched their own fashion label, Erevos Aether, which is internationally acclaimed and has produced bespoke creations that have adorned the likes of Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas and Jessie J.

They first entered the World of WearableArt Awards Competition in 2015 with three entries including Bronze Knight, and then entered again in 2016 and 2017. They entered six garments in the Competition and won six awards over the three-year period. They love to enter the Competition because they say they can not only appreciate the high level of creativity in the garments, but the sophistication of the event (the Awards Show) as a whole.

And what can you tell us about the garments on display in the Long Gallery?

The garments on display in the Long Gallery were all created by US designer Julian Hartzog. Julian has been entering the Competition since 2014 and has nine garments selected as finalists. His work is unique because he works exclusively with sheet metal – a material that is very difficult to manipulate and mould. The metal can only be bent in one direction, therefore designs need to be very carefully considered.

Julian has become a master of sheet metal and has developed several design and construction techniques that make it possible to get the shape and size he desires. His garments are constructed using a minimum number of pieces of sheet metal, giving his designs a look of “simple elegance”.


Headed to see WOW – Up Close? Make it a double-gallery date, with tickets to WOW’s exhibition and a stay in QT’s designer opulence. Sitting pretty among our eclectic art collection will be the stunning 2015 WOW finalist, Bronze Knight – the inspiration behind our limited edition cocktail served exclusively in the Lobby Lounge. Bookings available here.

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