It was billed as an extravaganza, but some of the other words used by patrons of the inaugural Dargaville Arts Association’s Wearable Arts Extravaganza summed up the scope and vision of what proved to be a very memorable two-night event.
‘Stunning’, ‘a tour de force’, ‘amazingly creative’ — the crowd was full of praise for not just the amazing creations on display, but for the entire two-day cultural event which lit up central Dargaville last Friday and Saturday nights.
A parade of whimsical, finely crafted costumes spanning categories as varied as our natural environment and creative recycling, this latest addition to Dargaville’s cultural calendar drew sellout crowds for both evenings. Patrons were entertained not just by the artistic talents of our local designers, but also by a full programme combining the Te Kopuru school’s kapa haka group, the skills of Circus Kumarani, the melodies of the Rivertown Singers and Take Six, Dargaville Intermediate’s Urban Haka dance crew, a very convincing Michael Jackson, and a collection of vintage fashions from down the ages.
In a contest of visual beauty and creative design which must have been hard to judge, the Kaipara Lifestyler Supreme Award was won by Megan Pitchforth and Margaret Rasmussen’s recycled masterpiece, ‘Queen of Rolls’, an intricate high-medieval dress fashioned from reclaimed cardboard and adorned with lights and colour. Model Enya Hill looked every bit royal in this imaginative work of wearable art.
The People’s Choice Award — decided by a combined audience vote from both nights, went to Jackie Butterworth’s baroque-inspired ‘Life’s A Picnic’ — a confection of recycled disposable cutlery and flatware turned into a 17th century-styled summer dress.
Across all the categories, innovation, insight, skill and flair was clearly apparent, and the designers and models who worked so hard to bring their creations to life for this two-day event were praised by the organisers for their dedication and vision.
Equally important were the efforts of the production crew who organised and ran all aspects of the show while transforming Dargaville’s town hall into a glamorous showpiece in its own right, with light, decoration and sound. Patrons enjoyed a fully catered supper during the halftime break thanks to Dargaville High School’s Food Technology department.
Planning is already well underway for next year’s event which will be held on September 14 and 15, 2018, and no doubt designers are already planning their masterpieces, inspired by what has been a weekend of artistic magic.
Dargaville Arts Association Chairman Allan Mortensen sums up the mood after two very successful nights: “It was an absolutely amazing show that could hold its head high in any company. The voluntary efforts of the production team — the performers — all certainly give one a great sense of pride, and in fact, with the business sector in town coming up with in excess of 80 sponsors, and having two sellout shows, the entire town of Dargaville should be feeling very proud of themselves.
Thank you all, and we look forward to next year with great anticipation.”