The fantasy world of WOW
Bishop Museum will be the first museum in the U.S. to host the spectacular New Zealand-based “World of WearableArt,” or WOW, exhibition opening Oct. 3 and continuing through Feb. 1 in the Castle Memorial Building.
The exhibition fusing fashion and art will spotlight 32 award-winning garments from the international design competition hosted by WOW, which attracts hundreds of entries from fashion designers, artists, costume makers and other artisans charged with the mission to take “art off the wall and adorn the human form.”
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the exhibition, with New Zealand-based artists Gillian Saunders and Beth Kopf, who shared their enthusiasm for art-making. Saunders' piece "Inkling," has been used for the promotional materials, so I was looking at that piece for months, wondering what kind of person comes up with such a dramatic form, which she says was based on her fascination of old-time circuses and their tattooed women. With the co-mingling of blood and ink, she wondered about the ratio that might cause the ink forms to spring to life. I was surprised to find her to be so soft-spoken, given the power of the piece. But of course art allows those who prefer to keep a low profile, to express ourselves powerfully in other ways.
The exhibition is amazing and I urge anyone with a love of artistry, fashion and creativity to see it. I was able to see Alexander McQueen's "Savage Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute and this is comparable in evoking that sense of dark, avant grade beauty and stellar technique. Truly world class.
Looking at the costumes on manikins is one thing, but a film screening in an alcove shows that these pieces are indeed wearable art. The film shows the works presented in a fashion show filled with acrobats and performers who bring the pieces to fantastic life. The fashion shows take place very fall, next year running Sept. 22 through Oct. 9 in New Zealand.
The exhibition is made possible by grants and funding from New Zealand's government which is to be commended for putting money behind the arts. And the staff of the Bishop Museum encourages Hawaii's creatives to participate by entering future WOW competitions. People will be able to submit their names and email addresses to receive entry packets.
Plus, Halloween is coming up and you may find some inspiration here!
The exhibit will be open during Bishop Museum hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays. Visit www.bishopmuseum.org for more information.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.