Monday, February 03, 2014

The WOW factor: 25 Years in the making and Mollie Rodie: Carnival Queen

Recently Rich and I went to Te Papa to check out an exhibition celebrating 25 Years of  WOW or "World of Wearable Arts". If you've never heard of WOW before you can check out more about it here.

I guess the name of WOW is pretty self explanatory though right? It's a festival all about wearable art *duh*.
 This costume at the entrance was made by a teenager! I think she was 15 or 16 when she made it an entered it into WOW. Pretty incredible right?
Here are some of the works from the earlier years of WOW - the second one (with all the faces) reminds me of the movie Society, if you like 80's horror you SHOULD watch Society.

Here as some more recent WOW creations - I guess I should point out that WOW is actually a stage show, its not just about looking at these creations, its about seeing them in action. They were screening some videos from the event at the exhibition and this dinosaur dude looked so amazing in action, there was a quote from the designer which said "everything I know about dinosaurs I learnt from Jurassic Park".

 This "Shell Art" outfit is one of my favourites, I remember when I was a kid I thought shells stuck to stuff (you know, photo frames, boxes, pencil holders) was pretty much the greatest thing ever. I love it how this work had matching shell shoes.

There are all kinds of categories in the WOW competition including children's and this child's costume is one of my favourites - its a red lettuce. Not THAT interesting right? Well you guys should have seen the video of this one in action, it was awesome.
To start with - its just a little girl wearing a lettuce - sure it's pretty fun, you don't see kids dressed as lettuce every day.....
But then.....she opens up the costume and its full of worms! I loved it!
I remember Ria telling me about the Bizarre Bra part of the competition last year and they had a few magnificent bras on display - I love the stained glass window one!

Whilst we were in Te Papa we checked out another much smaller exhibition - Mollie Rodie:Carnival Queen. This exhibition was based around the work of Mollie Rodie, who designed "Carnival Queen" costumes for fundraising pageants during the second World War. 

I knew that the exhibition was a collection of Mollie Rodie's sketches and also photographs of women wearing the final costumes. However, I really underestimated just how beautiful these sketches were, just stunning.

You can learn more about Mollie Rodie here and see more images of her beautiful work. I have to admit two of my favourites are the Public Service Queen and Public Service Princess which were designed for the Victory Queen Carnival. 

It turns out that you won the right to be a Carnival Queen or Princess by raising the most money for the war effort, it wasn't a pageant based on good looks, which made me actually love the whole idea of the pageant (I really have no time for the standard beauty pageant).  It turns out women held all kinds of events to raise funds - including a burlesque football match (which wouldn't be out of place as a performance at the Wellington Fringe Festival today).

I rather fancy myself as a Public Service Princess (given I am a public servant) what do you guys think?
Seeing exhibitions like these make me realise just how lucky we are to have Te Papa minutes from our apartment, it really is a wonderful museum. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week xoxo


Indigo Violet said...

"Public Service Princess" indeed! Although half the population of Wellington would be eligible to apply, I'm sure you'd win. I saw WOW one year and it was spectacular - it would be great to see them up close.

Unknown said...

So cool! I would have loved to see this! Can't get over the dinosaur thing :D

Sandra said...

I must get along to this exhibition it looks fantastic.

Curtise said...

WOW indeed! Those costumes are amazing feats of skill and creativity, aren't they? And the bras are brilliant! Love the Carnival Queen sketches too, they are really beautiful. You're right, you are lucky to have such a great museum close by. xxx

Helga said...

WOW is one of the best things this awesome country has come up with!!!
G and I managed to see one of the shows once, many years ago when it was in Nelson; bloody incredible!
I love Donna Demente's work most of all.

Krista said...

You go see the coolest exhibits! This blows me away totally! I would love to experience this for myself. The shell one and lettuce girl were my favs. Thanks for taking us along!

alicia said...

i feel so unproductive! so many crazy things! the shell art reminded me of all the shell crap at dutch haven! let's go back now! <3