Saturday, 28 January 2012

Fantastical Couture

World of Wearable Art
My uncle gave me two tickets to an intriguing show called World of Wearable Art that is part of the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival.

I'd seen the advertisements for it and they had some wacky images, including a walking pin cushion and a dragon coming out of a book.

World of Wearable Art or WOW is originally from New Zealand and is now in its 24th year. This was the first time they were taking the show outside the country.

Monsters in books
The founder of the event, Dame Suzie Moncrieff explained the costumes are chosen from an annual competition where designers from around the world submit creations that are "art off the wall and onto the human body".

They are chosen from by a panel of judges including herself and the winning pieces are then featured in a 70-minute show that is sectioned into themes.

She stressed it wasn't a fashion show where models walked down a catwalk, but that it was choreographed.

The show was held at Star Hall in KITEC in Kowloon Bay. I used to work in Kowloon Bay over 10 years ago and hadn't been back since and boy had it changed. I could hardly recognize the place and it took us a while to find the free shuttle that takes you to KITEC.

KITEC itself is huge and we had to go up to the third floor and go to the left to huge venue.

A pretzel dress
No one really knew what to expect and it began with a Maori tribute, with a singer and performers coming out in what looked like variations of Maori costume. Not being familiar with it, we didn't quite understand what was going on. The models would come out from the left, and model their outfit, then walk to the front centre of the stage and then to the right.

However, things started to get going in the Children's Section where a giant book came down from the ceiling and opened up into a pop-up book of a giant castle where performers came out of. Here local kids modelled some cute outfits, like books that had eyes and looked like monsters, one wearing hamburgers and fries on her skirt, another with a dress that opened in the middle to reveal a circus or a dress that seemed to be made of giant pretzels.

Another memorable part was when the lights went dark and glow-in-the-dark pieces came out. It culminated into many performers dressed in black with an outline of stick men dancing together that was fun to watch.

Chairs that walk
Things then got more fantastical with outfits that looked like birds or butterflies, chairs that moved and an old man who looked like he was carrying someone else on his back. Some of the outfits reminded me of Alexander McQueen, particularly one that looked like a face helmet with armour on top of a red body suit. There was also a woman who looked like she was walking an imaginary dog, but on her behind under her short flared skirt was the head of a stuffed dog. Perhaps an outfit Lady Gaga would wear?

At the end nine local fashion design graduates of the Hong Kong Design Institute showcased their work, and they were just as amazing as the rest of the show. Many were very elaborate pieces, again some seemed inspired by McQueen in his exploration of the female body. Some were reinterpretations of the Edwardian era, including one that featured a bird as part of the headdress.

As the show progressed the volume of clapping increased as the audience set aside their skepticism and went along for this fantasy ride through "wearable art". It seemed like many of the costumes could be found in Cirque du Soleil, but without the acrobatics.

Glad I went -- it was a reminder of how anything is possible -- as long as you set your imagination free.

World of Wearable Art
January 28-30, Feb 3-5, 2012
Star Hall, KITEC
1 Trademart Drive
Kowloon Bay

1 comment:

  1. tell it to armani, versage and the like.