Young emerging designer Natasha Senior was 14 when she won the top prize at the 2018 YMCA Walk the Line catwalk, part of New Zealand Fashion Week. Her winning entry of linen top and neoprene trousers is now being showcased alongside garments from established designers, such as Trelise Cooper and Adrienne Whitewood, at Canterbury Museum in its Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now exhibition, which opened Saturday, 22 February and runs to 14 June 2020.
Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now was developed by the New Zealand Fashion Museum.
Co-curated by Doris de Pont, New Zealand Fashion Museum Director and Fashion Journalist Dan Ahwa, the exhibition looks at how Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity is shaped by our place in the Pacific Ocean (Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa), and celebrates contemporary expression in jewellery, clothing, textile, and body adornment in New Zealand.
Both emerging and established designers are included in the exhibition to explore a range of connecting themes, such as; the adaptation and application of technology, mastery and invention in the use of heritage craft techniques, including stitching and weaving; the applications and evolution of cultural motifs, and the ongoing dialogue between wrapping and structured dressing.
Some of the garments and adornments showcased in the exhibition are streetwear from Bill Urale’s (aka King Kapisi) Overstayer label, a missionary-style dress by Trelise Cooper, a Neil Adcock hei tiki that can dance, Steve Hall’s androgynous dress, and a merino wool wrap that’s reminiscent of a muka kaitaka (flax fibre cloak), created by London-based New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead, in collaboration with Woolmark in 2019.
Canterbury Museum is the first South Island venue to exhibit Moana Currents. Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the exhibition is a terrific showcase for the extraordinary work of Aotearoa New Zealand’s fashion designers and the pride we have in the way Pacific cultures have influenced our Kiwi sense of style.
“What we wear really does reflect who we are as individuals and as a nation. We think this exhibition will be very popular with both our local and international visitors.”
Doris de Pont says she’s thrilled to be bringing the exhibition to Canterbury.
“Moana Currents shows how our history of migration and cultural exchange is visible in what we wear and how we adorn ourselves. Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity has evolved over time as generations of people migrated here. Who we are and how we dress is a reflection of those journeys, both past and present, and an expression of our aspirations and how we want to be seen.”
This three-part project includes the exhibition at Canterbury Museum, as well as an accompanying book and online exhibition found online.