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Karen Walker Fragrance Launch & Interview Excitement!

Karen Walker launched three new fragrances, starting in New Zealand - and Ever So Scrumptious was invited to try the scents and meet Karen Walker herself. For international style-lovers, Karen Walker brings fresh, wearable Antipodean quirkiness, especially with her successful eyewear line. For style-conscious New Zealanders, Karen Walker is the gateway to investment style with "accessible luxury" - I note that Karen Walker jewelry is often the first silver or gold piece a young woman owns. And now the brand has branched out into another area of accessible luxury with fragrances. Fun out front at Karen Walker for Kirckaldie and StainesThe fragrance launch event in Wellington was everything fabulous about style in New Zealand. Cheerful redheads flourished giant balloon letters to greet us, making our day more surreal. Inside, several stands with the three perfumes awaited us, with vivid cards for spraying samples. There was a sparkle of excitement amongst the handful of people, always renewed, who waited in a loose queue to meet Karen Walker in person. Where else is a globally famous designer going to be so accessible? Karen was polished and relaxed, pausing to grab shopping bags to package up inflatables, or to hand out macarons to astonished fans.
Karen Walker serving up macarons at the launch of her new fragrances in Wellington

Karen Walker clearly felt at home in Wellington

A little rough-voiced after chatting with well-wishers and fans for two and a half hours, Karen made the time for a short interview with me about the fragrances.[Read more]
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Wellington Style Icon: Fandangle Fabulus

FandangleTo start April out right, I've returned to my "Making It Happen" series - and I've scored an interview with another of Wellington's style icons. Someone global, yet local, who shows us all the power of creativity, self-determination, and being body positive! I first met this charmer on Cuba Street, of course, at Fidel's Cafe. A fedora at a rakish angle over crimson hair caught my eye, along with the glimmer of sequins. This was someone I had to meet. Turns out this unique individual, who I was repeatedly assured was from Paris, was from a tribe associated with New Zealand's festival of festivals, our Kiwiburn. Not only is Fandangle's style advice popular online, but Fandangle was a noted presence at the Kiwiburn free clothesline this year, even appearing in the Wanganui Chronicle. With festival style hotter than ever, I knew I had to bring you some style advice from the source. Fandangle came to my house for an intimate tête-à-tête, interview and styling session. Without further ado...Fandangle Fabulus. Hi Fandangle! HULLO SADEE! I MUS SAY YOO LOOK LUVLY. BUT YOO CAN LOOK BETTER AND I SHOW YOO HOW IN MAKOVER TOODAY. OF CORSE YOO CAN NEVVER LOOK AS GOOD AS MONSTER BUT WEE SEE WAT WEE CAN DOO. Oh wow, thank you so much! I do feel very unglamorous compared to you. But to start ...how does a young monster become a style icon? WELL YOO NO IT NOT EESY. PEEPL SAY “WOW FANDANGLE YOO SUCH A NATRAL AT FASHUN” BUT DEY NOT NO HOW MUCH WORK IT IS TO BEE DIS GOOD. I PUT CLOTHS ON AND OFF A LOT. LIKE EVRY DAY I SPEND 8 OR 9 HOURS PUTTING CLOTHS ON AND OFF. JUS SO I CAN STAY FITT FOR FASHUN. MOST PEEPL NOT REELISE DAT WAT IT TAKE OR MAYBEE DEY JUS LAZY. DEY WONDER WY DEY NOT SO FASHNABUL BUT IT COS DEY NOT PREEPARED TO WORK HARD.  Tell us about you and Paris. OMG I LUV PAREE AND PAREE LUV MEE! WOW I SUCH A POET!!!! I ONLEE RECENTLEE MOV TO LITTUL NEW ZEELAND FROM PAREE AND IT A BIT WEERD FINGS SO DIFFERENT HEER. LIKE IN PAREE PEEPL STAY STILL A LOT AND NOT WEER CLOTHS EXCEPT IN FASHUN WEEK. HEER AR PIKSHURS OF SOM PEEPL IN PAREE JUST BEEING STILL AND NOT WEERING CLOTHS: NakedinparisPEEPL IN LITTUL NEW ZEELAND TRY TO DO DAT TOO BUT I FINK DEY NOT QWITE UNNERSTAND: 5 NZI MISS SO MANNY GRATE FINGS FROM PAREE. LIKE BEEING GEST OF ONUR AT PARIS FASHUN WEEK. DIS MEE SOOPERVISING IN 2013: -AND I USED TO CLIME I-FELL TOWER EVRY DAY (IT CALLED DAT COS LOTS PEEPL FALL OFF AND IT FUN TO WATCH) AND I MISS TAJ MAHAL AND STONHENGE TOO.  Have you got a favorite item of clothing? OMG WAT?????? I LUV ALL CLOTHS!!!!!!!! WELL OK MAYBEE MY FAVRIT CLOTHS AT MOMENT IS DIS WUN: 7 HATT SCRAFIT SOO VERSATIL. IT LIK HATT AND SCRAF ALL IN ONE. AND YOO CAN USE IT FOR TALE WARMER IN WINTER TOO!!! 8 TAIL WARMERI QWITE LIK YOR CLOTHS SADEE. I CAN HELP YOO WIV MAKOVER BETTER IF I TRI DEM ON …
Fandanglestyle

We paused to view the many styles of Fandangle. 50 shades of Fandangle...steampunk Fandangle...burlesque Fandangle. Fandangle's versatility was amazing!

What's your most recent purchase? I NOT NO WAT YOO MEEN. PURR-CHASE … DAT SOM KIND OF CAT??? Okay then, moving on...who are YOUR style icons? WELL I FINK EVERYWUN NEED DERE OWN STILE SO I NOTT ENCURAGE PEEPL TO COPPY. BUT DESE AR SOME PEEPL WIV GRATE FASHUN IDEERS:
theclassics

Of course - the French classics of black and white, classically deployed. Tres chic!

How do you stay so fit and oval? I believe you come from a very athletic family. LIKE I SAY BEFOR I WORK VERRY HARD PUTTING CLOTHS ON AND OFF FOR HOURS EVRY DAY. DAT HELP MEE KEP MY FIGERR. AS WELL AS DAT I CARFUL TO EET ENUF. SOMTIMES MONSTER CAN DIET TO MUCH: 12 TOO MUCH DIETSo true! It's all about a healthy balance. You're very well known as an avatar of "festival style." What are some great outfits you've seen at New Zealand festivals? OMG! WELL DIS GRATE HATT I FIND AT KIWEEBURN DIS YEER: 13 stockings hattWAT I FINK WEERD THO IS HOW HOOMINS WEER HATTS AS NAPPYS. IT LOOK SO STOOPID! DIS MEE PRETENDING TO BEE HOOMIN WEERING HATT AS NAPPY. HAHAHAHA!!!!! 14 stockingsDo you have any style advice to inspire our readers? 15 BillyI ALWAYS SAY YOO HAV TO KEEP IT REEL. LIKE DIS MY FREND BILLY. HEE WEERING SHIRT WIV COOL LEPPARDS ON IT BUT IT BE MUCH BETTER IF DEY WERE REEL LEPPARDS. SO YEA. YOO SHOOD ALL REMEMBER: MOOR REEL = MOOR FASHNABUL! DON’T WEER HATTS AS NAPPYS! VoilaThank you so much, Fandangle! We'll always have Paris! After we wrapped up our interview Fandangle took the time to style me. Fandangle recommends a palette of black, white, silver, stripes, and crimson, and a bold hand with lipstick. I even had my hair done, and the whole ensemble was capped off by Fandangle giving me my very own monster-made hat. "HATTS ESSENSHUL!" I couldn't agree more, especially as we enter the cooler weather. Here I am after my "fabulus" makeover. I think we all agree: it's a definite improvement. For your own style tips, you can keep up with Fandangle Fabulus on Facebook. You can also see the rest of Fandangle's family, Kiwi monsters at large Tangle, Dangle, and little cutie Mangle on YouTube and on Tumblr.
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Friday Follies: Some Style Solutions

Contemporary women's fashion has had one of its sea changes into something strange and androgynous and blocky. Mainstream retailers aren't handling this well - clothes in most of the stores along Lambton Quay in Wellington look nearly identical, spookily corporate. Here's some options on the independent continuum. Wellington femmes: run, don't walk, to Honour Fashion. This preloved shop is exceptionally well curated, with a full range of sizes up to 18 (with plenty in size 14 and 16), and has a very tempting range of dresses. The prices are just what they should be, too. Clothing by Desiree came to my attention at a fabric sale, Fabric-a-Brac. I'm one of those awful, awful people who shops for clothing with my hands. And based on Desiree's fabrics, they pass the touch test! Contemporary, but a lot more wearable  and interesting than many of the season's alternatives. RutshireForeverUpper-end Wellington designer Twenty-Seven Names is taking the UK by storm with their latest collection, based on the writing and characters of Jilly Cooper. It's all rawther too preppy for me but it would be ideal summer-wedding wear for those who like contemporary classic garb. Rutshire Forever, indeed. If it's all too much or you just don't have time, here's another option. I ran into a long-term Woman in Tech colleague who was looking smashing, and asked admiringly where she'd found her sophisticated red shirt. She said she'd received a substantial promotion at work and felt that she needed more than her usual uniform of jeans and casual shirts. "I used the personal shoppers at Farmers. It was fantastic."  Importantly, my colleague didn't just look polished, she looked like herself. Farmers has also vastly improved their online shopping experience. I wish they didn't rely so much on synthetic fabrics, but they are still New Zealand owned. Meanwhile, my wardrobe continues to be its usual mix of 40% thrifted/swapped items, 40%  items from US and UK petites retailers, and 10% new NZ purchases. I'm wearing a lot of olive-with-leopard-print this spring.
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Where I’ve Been

Happy Spring Equinox! What did I do in the second part of winter? I was... ...exploring the deliciously austere and windswept Palliser Bay with my fiancée... WinterCapePalliser...emceeing two great shows in August (look, I got memed!)... ...helping out with a wonderful event, Glory Days' Winter Vintage Fair... WinterVintage...and surviving a busy period at Ye Day Jobbe while doing a surprising amount of web freelance work. WordPress, SEO, online advertising, and content. Here's a preview image from a freelance site in progress. Skirt-BlackBlackRuffle-FullSmileThis lovely lady is modeling a spiral-ruffle circle skirt from Velvet Cherry on upper Cuba Street. If you like steampunk, lolita, gothic, or pinup, Velvet Cherry is ready to outfit you. The last thing I was doing was getting my fitness back after a more-unwell-than-I-thought period in May. I have also learned that, if you're in New Zealand, you should eat two Brazil nuts a day. Just two, to supplement your selenium. I stumbled upon doing this while following these nutritional guidelines here with the aid of a mixed bag of nuts, and now I have MUCH more energy. I've got several beauty and burlesque events coming up that I'll chronicle for you soon, including a very unique fragrance event from last weekend.
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Monday Follies: Between Friends

I admit it: the last few posts here at ESS were a nostalgia-fest. A friend of mine in the USA had her delightful wedding (sunflowers! Cape Cod! mini-reunion of university friends!), I wasn't there, and it made me look homeward. After reconnecting with wonderful Wellington friends over the past two weeks, I am feeling more grounded. This includes Joy from A Charm of Magpies. She of the flying crafty fingers and dancing feet has written a post about her talented Wellington friends, and I'm so honored to be one of them. Trelise Cooper's sale lines have many items marked down to 60% off and their very good returns policy applies to sale items.  They ship free in NZ and worldwide. Each line has its own sale category. Many of the coats and jackets are a great Steampunk Every Day look.
TreliseJackets

Still available in a size 14 at time of posting at the Trelise Cooper sale: all these jackets.

For Wellingtonians, hidden treasure Harry's in Seatoun is also having their smashing 50% off winter sale, a good chance to pick up something posh. They stock striking NZ fashion in a range of sizes. Sale goes through Sunday the 13th! Nip into their gift shop for delicious candles and spring preview clothes, and a vintage designer rail plus vintage shoes. Most adorable new comic book in the world: Lumberjanes! Buy it for your daughters, your sons, and your own sunkissed nostalgia for Bigfoot-chasing summers that never were. Friendship to the max! (Even I knew that Sasquatch wasn't living in my neighborhood growing up, so I restrained myself to squinting at the skies for UFOs.)
The lovely Bridgette
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Fragrance Exploration, Wellington: Kirckaldie and Staines + Mecca

This past Sunday, a group of ardent perfume fans descended on Wellington's most venerable department store, Kirckaldie and Staines. We were there to sniff, share, and experience a range of fragrances while bouncing opinions and experiences off each other. We were very fortunate, because Kirk's had set up an hour's perfume encounter for us, and we also experienced fragrances at the Mecca Cosmetica area of Kirk's cosmetics floor. Even at 10 AM on the Sunday morning after Daylight Savings, there was still a crowd waiting to get into Kirk's. Some of us were soignee; I was tired and blinky. We were met by the front door fountain by Mark Conroy, a tall, blue-eyed, career fragrance expert. He greeted us all smoothly, blinky and beautiful alike, and invited us in. We trooped past the space-age lighting of the cosmetic area to Kirk's fragrance department, and the fun began.

The fragrances of history, waiting for us at Kirkcaldie's

PFMarkConroy

Mark Conroy prepares a scent strip for our delectation

PFSmellMe

"No, wait - smell it on my wrist!" Coffee beans to the right, scent strips everywhere.

After listening to our group and getting an idea of who we were, Mark took us through classic French scents from Chanel, YSL, Guerlain, and more. "It's good to smell some of these as reference notes," said Mark, handing around slips of paper sprayed with Mitsouko and Chanel No. 19. "The Italians have a very different approach to scent," he noted, handing around Acqua di Parma, which I fell in love with instantly. Thanks to Mark, by the end of the hour, I'd learned that while I  like the idea of a "green" perfume, I'm more drawn to perfumes with a citrus or amber note and a woody base. In between sniffs, we refreshed our noses by smelling... coffee beans!
The lovely Bridgette

Sampling scent strips - the way to try

Just as marvelous as the perfumes was being able to share them with like-minded people.* Suggestions and ideas and personal perfume histories were shared. "You know what you'd really like? Can we try...?" I gained a sense of how perfumes really do act differently on different skins, and how they express personality and a subtler sense of beauty. And I learned about scrubbers - perfumes you can't wait to scrub off your skin! We wrapped up with some more modern fragrances, such as the Elie Saab line - extremely popular right now, but very different from the weighty classic scents. We started asking about prices - and we were agreeably surprised. Kirk's fragrance range has become more affordable thanks to some international market changes. Some standouts from our hour of exploration:
  • Bvlgari Blue –  One of us said,  "This is what I wear when I need to wake up on a dismal winter's morning." It starts out as GINGER and more ginger, and dries down beautifully.
  • 24 Faubourg by Hermes – I was very taken with the cashmere-sweater-nuzzleable quality of this, along with the markedly pretty bottle. As the blogger Perfume Queen says about this fragrance, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you the smell of money and happiness.”
  • Miss Dior Originale by Dior  – Several of us were smitten with this revived classic. Mark told us the charming story of how the fragrance was created for Dior's sister.
  • Thierry Mugler Angel – One of several love-or-hate ones, this elicited long stories about when-I-wore-Angel and the comment “This smells like…like the sound of a 90s modem.”
  • French travel perfume bottles – Kirk's stocks leakproof travel perfume bottles in two shapes. Transfer some of your favorite into these to take it with you securely. High-end yet affordable, most of us picked up one or more of these.
SO COOL

Getting ready to fill a travel perfume spray straight from the fragrance bottle. How cool is that?? The narrow pen-like shape is airport security friendly, too.

After one more hit of coffee beans to clear our sinuses, we went over to Mecca, ten yards away on Kirk's first floor. The lovely Charlotte gave us a review of their perfume lines. Standouts from our Mecca visit were:
When store lighting and outdoors lighting collide, we all look like lemons

Getting ready to sniff some more at Mecca Cosmetica with Charlotte (left).

At the end of our visit, perfumes and travel perfume bottles were bought, and notes were taken away for future purchases. "I don't really buy a fragrance the first time I smell it," one of us declared. That's why, even in the age of the Internet, the glass-and-light perfume counter is still the place to go, and for those of us introduced to perfumes online, there's nothing like getting together with like-minded souls.
"Suede and peaches, you say?"

Sniffing thoughtfully with friends: what the morning was about.

For those of you who weren't able to make it, and who live in New Zealand, I have a little giveaway. Courtesy of Kirk’s and Mecca, comment below, here on the blog, to be in to win:
  • A voucher for a complimentary makeup application at the cosmetic house of your choice at Kirkcaldie and Staines.
  • Nine carded/boxed perfume samples – Si by Giorgio Armani, Miss Dior by Dior, MaDame by Jean Paul Gaultier, Coco by Coco Chanel, Pleats Please by Issey Miyake, Eau de Sisley 1 by Sisley, Calyx by Clinique, and (drumroll please) two Serge Luteyns samples – L’Eau Serge Lutens and Chergui.
A random selection generator will be used to choose the winner, who will be announced this Friday. SUPER thanks to Kirk's - they were absolutely delightful all the way and treated us magnificently. I'll be back, once my bank account has recovered.
Kirkcaldie and Staines, YOU ROCK.

The fragrance team at Kirkcaldie and Staines - we weren't posing, this just happened.

  *It's not all women - several men were interested in the event, but couldn't make it.
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Fragrance Explorer Day – April 6th

Contact Form Shortcode Error: Form 2 does not existFor those of us in Wellington, I have put together a Fragrance Explorer Day, on Sunday, April 6th. I was inspired by seeing how much fun fragrance lovers overseas have at events like Sniffapalooza and perfume master classes. FragranceExplorerDay Discussing the event with several fragrance-loving friends, and with some friendly retailers, I've done my best to keep it accessible and interesting. The morning is shopping-oriented, and the afternoon is dedicated to a demonstration and a swap. And there wil be time for people to just talk and get to know each other. Some people are signed up in advance - serious fragrance aficionados. Some of us are into vintage and "rescued" scents. Everybody over 18 of all genders is welcome to attend. 10 AM - 11:30 AM - An in-depth hosted visit to Kirkcaldie and Staines with a fragrance talk, followed by sampling their selection of Guerlain, Chanel, and Estee Lauder scents, and exploring their Mecca Cosmetica fragrance area. This is free! Plus, if you choose to acquire a Kirk's fragrance on the day you will receive a gift with purchase. Please sign up ASAP for the Kirk's visit - this is strictly limited to 15 people, and only 10 places are left. Use the form below to sign up! 11:30 to 2:00 PM - Rest your nose, stop by a cafe for lunch with us, and we might sniff in at one or two other places. 2:00 PM - At Made on Marion Craft, there will be a fragrance and accessory swap. The swap starts with a fragrance sampling/pipetting demonstration to help us share our perfumes, and the swap itself begins at 2.30. The swap has a koha (cash donation) entry that will be donated 100% to Women's Refuge Wellington. Swap items will be tallied up for swap credit. You are welcome to bring: perfumes, fragrance oils, costume jewelry, bags, scarves, hats, and gloves. Perfume samples and partially used/tried fragrances are welcome. The swap is limited to 30 - 35 people - again, use the form below to sign up. Note: Your contact information is confidential and I will not distribute Fragrance Explorer information to anyone for commercial purposes.
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New Zealand Burlesque Festival 2013: Evening Done Right

This October, I went to the New Zealand Burlesque Festival. I spent most of my time enjoying the events, performances, workshops, and vendors. Sunday night, for the Burlesque Mixer, I got my camera out to capture some of the event's style. With the holiday party season coming up, these photos are great examples of successful classy-yet-sexy evening wear for men and women. Fashion magazines layer item upon item into "evening out" ensembles. And Wellington, the same week as the festival, was full of World of Wearable Art lady visitors out on an urban spree. You could pick out the out of towners by their big vivid bags, colorful necklaces, freshly coiffed hair, and other accessories. Bless! The burlesque performers and lovers, in contrast, seemed to have followed the old dictum of getting dressed and then removing an accessory to avoid overdoing it. I didn't notice a single pair of fishnet stockings or seamed stockings all evening. Note in the photos that jewelry and bags are minimal, throats and arms curve unhindered, shoes have clean lines. The clothes fitted, and undergarments were on the job. Some people wore cotton retro dresses on the more casual side of cocktail, and others wore full evening dress. There were many items with one special standout - one guy wore silver leather sneakers, some men and women had vivid pink or blue hair. And when I was editing these pictures, I only had to tone down one shiny forehead: women were clean and powdered and men were immaculate.  BonitaDangerDollandRubyRuinationBonita Danger Doll (left) and Queen of the Festival Ruby Ruination (right). What I like about each of them is that they've each got one complex visual item - Bonita's leopard dress, Ruby's multicolored hair topped with her tiara - and everything else is very simple.

SalaciousSugar-ESSSalacious Sugar shows us the value of perfect, perfect fit and unusual colors.

ScarlettDelight-ESSScarlett Delight has brought in a vintage accessory seamlessly. I also like the fluid drape of her dress - far more flattering than the stiff taffeta lampshades that endure in formal wear.

MissRedd-ESSNot going to lie: satin is a difficult fabric to wear. MisRed Delicious, one of the core festival organizers, makes it work with, again, distinguished fit.

RachelRougeandBelle-ESSTwo evening classics - an LBD and black-and-red- are refreshed by Rachel Rouge and Miss La Belle. Vintage accessories add light and texture. They both have structured and complex hair, and Rachel's paler makeup is a fresh contrast against the dress.

HoneySuckle-ESSSometimes evening is the time to try a trend - Honey Suckle's blonde-and-pink hair sets off her blush ensemble. Her dress has a lot going on, so her hair and accessories stay simple. And there's pale makeup again.

DliciaMinx-ESSAnother black dress ensemble that has me admiring the sensuous, balanced revealed flesh. It sounds like I'm about to pounce on D'Licia Minx, doesn't it? But these proportions are the definition of tastefully sexy - she has the 40% ratio just right.

SharpDressedMen-ESSSharp dressed men. Mmmm hmmm. Note how our redheaded friend has chosen lighter garments and shoes.

FlicCaracouandFriend-ESS  Flic Caracou and her friend interpret two contemporary evening frocks the same way, with dark shoes and stockings. It's more modest, so if you're a bit shy, take note.

FrenchieKissandJettAdore-ESSTwo of the stars of the weekend, Frenchie Kiss and Jett Adore. Jett is bringing the quirky circus to town - you can tell he's someone special who also has a sense of humor. And why does Frenchie look so very good? Apart from that million-watt smile, immaculate grooming and quality fabrics add to her aura of perfection.

SadieandVelvetWhip-ESSWhat happens when two women - me and The Velvet Whip - wear green sequins? We admire each other's excellent taste, of course.

NZBF2013CrowdA whole lot of party happened upstairs! This group shot happened in the middle of the festivities. By the end of the evening, everyone who came in stilettos was sitting on the floor. What stands out in this picture? Vivid hair, lighter frocks, shiny accessories and fabrics, and gray suiting.

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Home Sewn at the Dowse: Home Sewn by the Crowd

At opening night at Home Sewn at the Dowse, the crowd was quite as sumptuous as the exhibits. Here's some that I particularly loved.

Dowse-LovelyPairThis enchanting pair even held hands in the fashion show. Femmes represent!

Dowse-FlapperDapperEven if the orange backdrop wasn't the best idea on my part, these frocks (and a hat) were irresisitble.

Dowse-Joy  Who needs an orange backdrop when you are both ON FIRE??

Dowse-ShellandSarh

A gentler moment with two of my friends - two dresses and a cape that they made. Amazing fit and detail.

Dowse-Spots  This fellow blogger apologized because her coat was "made by a friend." No apology necessary!

Dowse-TrioThree ravishing gowns, each made by the wearer. Hand-embroidered silk flowers there on the right.

Dowse-TheFutureI love how she went ahead and started the future with this green silk dress that she made from a Cybele pattern, her purple hair, and the Rubik's Cube handbag.

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Home Sewn at the Dowse: Opening Night

Last night, I went to the hectic opening of "Home Sewn" at the Dowse Art Museum - an exhibit profiling the home creators and designers of clothing in New Zealand. Home sewing was a huge part of fashion in this remote isle until very recently, so this exhibit of the finest Kiwi home stitchers have to offer is amazing. The exhibit is free, and you should go, if you like dresses. Dowse-PartyViewOpening night was a mad gala, the Home Sewn Night of Fashion, packed with hundreds of women wearing dresses and coats they, or a friend or relative, had sewn in New Zealand. A Dowse photographer captured many outfits for a People's Choice competition. (Which isn't online just yet,.) Dowse-SamoaDress This outfit, sewn and hand-painted with scenes of Samoa by the artist's mother, won one of the prizes bestowed by luminaries including the designer and historian Doris du Pont. Dowse-ExhibitCenterAfter our self-made fashion show, we were the first ones to see the exhibit - a vast cool room full of dresses from the 1930s to 2011, all made by New Zealand home stitchers. Yes, Archival People, I turned my camera flash off for these first-view shots. I love the contrast in this photo between the 1950s dresses and the contemporary viewers.

Dowse-ExhibitLeftThe 1960s side of the exhibit.

Dowse-ExhibitRightDresses from the 21st century - though you might not have guessed that at first, looking at the 1950s-esque eau de nil chiffon and the vivid retro sheath.

Dowse-ExhibitPatternsWriters and creators from the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network got stuck into the pattern corner.

Tomorrow I'll have shots of the attendees in their self-made garments, so get ready for another picture-weighty post.