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New Zealand sisters take Supreme Award at the 2013 WOW Awards Show

A Christchurch-based design team, sisters, Tatyanna and Natasha Meharry have won the 2013 Brancott Estate Supreme World of WearableArt™ (WOW®) Award at the 25th Anniversary WOW® show, taking home $30,000 in prizes.

The two-garment entry, called ‘The Exchange,’ was designed and made by Christchurch art tutor Tatyanna Meharry and her sister Natasha Meharry and depicts a contemporary living picture of the Treaty of Waitangi. Made entirely of ceramic feathers and coins the garment portrays the on-going act of cultural assimilation through the exchange and realisation of gifts and promises.

‘The Exchange’ is a ‘powerful, emotional and politically interesting’ garment, according to this year’s guest judge New Zealand sculptor Christine Hellyar. “The craftsmanship is extraordinary. It looked good and sounded good.”

Dame Suzie Moncrieff says that this year’s Supreme WOW® Award Winner is truly an artwork in the most traditional sense. “The garments evoke a deep emotional response from their audience, with the artists interpreting contemporary New Zealand in a way that resonates deeply with our cultural sense of identity. The Meharry sisters follow other great political artists like Colin McCahon in commentating on today’s issues.”

All the judges agreed the Supreme Award winner had an optimistic message about harmony, and the two garments presented a simple, but effective, sculptural silhouette that demonstrated exceptional craftsmanship.

The Runner Up to the Brancott Estate Supreme Award is also a New Zealander – Peter Wakeman, whose garment ‘Chica Under Glass’ was also awarded first prize in the Avant Garde Section last night. Mr Wakeman is from Motueka, near Nelson.

The garment was hand-crafted from fibreglass and plywood; “not a mould in sight,” Mr Wakeman said.

‘Chica Under Glass’ featured several aspects which were sculptural, Christine Hellyar said. The garment was based on clothing, but went beyond clothing.

“It has contrasting elements that give it vivacity. The shift in the hemline made it sculptural and took it away from being just a dress.”

The guest judges Christine Hellyar and Margi Robertson joined the Founder of WOW® Dame Suzie Moncrieff, on the panel. The decision-making was unanimous and every garment that had been selected to compete on stage and be modelled in the WOW® show, were of an equally high calibre.

WOW® is undeniably an international competition, Dame Suzie said, with this year’s entries presenting an almost exact 50/50 mix of designers from New Zealand and designers from around the world; a ratio which was “very apt” in the show’s 25th anniversary year.

“It is humbling and inspiring to create a show worthy of exhibiting such incredible works of wearable art.” she said.

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Models present creations from the Adidas by Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2014 collection during this week’s London Fashion Week.

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