Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of Wearable Art competition. The annual performance is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production that highlights vast creativity translated through fashion and costume from around the globe. Of the 88 works from 103 international designers in this year’s contest, many are interpretations of the natural world with dried grasses pouring from sleeves and sculptural dresses mimicking coral patterns. No matter the materials or aesthetic, all of the garments have a flair for the dramatic.
In the 32 years since the competition launched, WOW has featured more than 5,000 garments on its stages, and it’s worth a visit to the contest’s site to peruse the archive.
Estère in the 2022 competition
Left: “Apocalyptic Angel,” Sherri Madison, of the United States. Right: “Wild Things,” Saar Snoek, of the Netherlands
“Call of the Kōkako,” Stephanie Cossens, of New Zealand
“Life,” Sun Ye, Ma Yuru, Zhou Honglei, of China
“Plastic Marriage,” Allison MacKay and Gabrielle Edmonds, of New Zealand
Left: “This Is the Pyrocene,” R. R. Pascoe, of Australia. Right: “The Giant Purse,” Thao Nguyen, of Vietnam
“X-Ray,” Lyndal Linton, Brett Linton, Harvey Linton, of New Zealand