The 2022 World of WearableArt Awards winners has been announced at Wellington’s TSB Arena, with the Supreme WOW Award going to Hawke’s Bay artist Kate MacKenzie — the second time she has taken home the coveted top prize.
MacKenzie is among 21 award winners in the 2022 World of WearableArt Awards Competition, in which more than NZD$185,000 of prize money was on offer, across three recurring sections, Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, as well as three new sections in 2022: Architecture, Elizabethan Era and Monochromatic.
For the next three weeks, the TSB Arena stage will come alive with this year’s 88 finalist entries by 103 designers representing 20 countries and regions around the world.
“We have been waiting for an incredibly long time to share the work of our 2022 finalist designers with the world and finally we can give each of the garments their moment to shine on the WOW stage,” WOW Competition Director Heather Palmer said in a press release.
“To see the passion, innovation and dedication of this year’s finalists is incredibly affirming and it is heartening to see the wearable art movement around the globe remains alive and well,” she continued. “We celebrate the achievement of this year’s finalists and also look ahead to the 2023 Competition with much anticipation!”
WOW is New Zealand’s most spectacular theatrical stage production. The 2022 Show includes over 100 dancers, kapa haka performers (Ngāti Pōneke) and aerialists, as well as spectacular headline performances by New Zealand musicians Estère, and Sharn Te Pou.
The first round of judging to select finalists took place in 2021 by a panel comprising WOW Founder and resident judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer and co-founder of Zambesi Elisabeth Findlay, and acclaimed New Zealand sculptor Jeff Thomson. In addition, they have been joined by International Guest Judge – award-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne; The Residency Experience Award Judge – Swedish-born fashion activist and celebrity stylist, B Åkerlund; and Wētā Workshop Emerging Designer Award Judge – Co-founder, CEO and Creative Director of Wētā Workshop, Sir Richard Taylor.
Of the Supreme WOW Award winner, the Judges said, “We are in awe of the designer’s resourcefulness in use of the vintage china cabinet and Singer sewing machine drawers. It perfectly captures what we mean when we say wearable art. It is refined, sculptural and tells a story.”
WOW 2022, which runs until 16 October, will attract over 60,000 to Wellington’s TSB arena, with around 35,000 travelling from out of town. WOW contributes nearly $28m to the local economy in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern surprised the audience on the night by taking to the stage as a guest model. The industrial designer and 3D artist Dylan Mulder created a sculpture just for the Prime Minister called Digitally Grown.
Mulder, who made his debut on the program in 2012, has won various awards and advanced to the finals five times. After a two-year break caused by the pandemic, he said it was an honour to design such a unique piece for the occasion.
“I found together with the creative team we naturally aligned in our values on wanting to celebrate New Zealand’s continued progression and re-emergence back into the international scene,” Mulder said. “To keep going and thriving as we do best from our corner of the world.”
World of WearableArt Awards 2022 Winners
SUPREME WOW AWARD
Wanton Widow, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand ($30,000)
Runner-up: Fera Dei, Fifi Colston and Bruce Mahalski, New Zealand ($15,000)
Fera Dei, Fifi Colston and Bruce Mahalski, New Zealand ($6,000)
Documental, Bethany Cordwell, Australia ($6,000)
Life, Sun Ye, Ma Yuru and Zhou Honglei, China ($6,000)
Wanton Widow, Kate MacKenzie, New Zealand ($6,000)
Hidden Layers, Anna Weszelovszky, Hungary ($6,000)
Elizabethan Era Section
Madame Paon Doré, Veritée Hill, United States ($6,000)
Dame Suzie Moncrieff Award
Dark Alien Doctor, Cecilio Castrillo, Spain ($6,000)
First-time Entrant Award
Glistening Gothic Tracery, Colleen Muscha and Christina Marullo, United States ($5,000)
Student Innovation Award
Beneath, Agnes Olah, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, United Kingdom ($5,000)
Wearable Technology Award
Little Electric Dress (LED), Dinah Walker and Mark Walker, New Zealand ($5,000)
Haerenga (Journey), Christopher Davis, New Zealand ($5,000)
New Zealand Design Award
Aetatem Aureum: Elizabeth & Her Lady, Carolyn Gibson and Joelle Marsh, New Zealand ($5,000)
Absolutely Positively Wellington International Design Award: UK & Europe
Andromeda, Cecilio Castrillo, Spain
Absolutely Positively Wellington International Design Award: Asia
Neoru, Jayati Saraf, Pearl Academy, India ($5,000)
Absolutely Positively Wellington International Design Award: Americas
Elizabethan Jester, Miodrag Guberinic, United States ($5,000)
Absolutely Positively Wellington International Design Award: Australia & Pacific
Revolution, Hanna Smith, Australia ($5,000)
Absolutely Positively Wellington International Design Award: Overall Winner
Neoru, Jayati Saraf, Pearl Academy, India ($6,000)
Wētā Workshop Emerging Designer Award
The Giant Purse, Thao Nguyen, Vietnam ($6,000)
The Residency Experience Award
Documental, Bethany Cordwell, Australia ($5,000)
See all the winning creations from the World of WearableArt Awards 2022 here and the show highlights in the banner above.
Tickets are still on sale now at worldofwearableart.com.