High St loos will get a fash­ion fix

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

PUBLIC toi­lets and fash­ion rarely go hand in hand.

But Cathryn Monro is on a mission to spruce up a block of loos at 60 High St with a stylish makeover.

The artist was first com­mis­sioned by the for­mer Auck­land City Coun­cil to re­fur­bish the dank and unattrac­tive toi­lets 15 years ago.

The one-time Grey Lynn res­i­dent worked with ar­chi­tects on a de­sign which is a nod to the New Zealand fash­ion in­dus­try, re­flect­ing the street’s set­ting in the heart of the fash­ion dis­trict.

But Monro dis­cov­ered the toi­lets had fallen back into dis­re­pair while vis­it­ing the city from her new home in Welling­ton last year.

Tiles are bro­ken or miss­ing and the block looks tired, she says.

‘‘Public toi­lets are no­to­ri­ously hor­ri­ble places to go – they stink and they’re dirty.

‘‘The whole point was try­ing to make a re­ally nice en­vi­ron­ment where peo­ple are ac­tu­ally happy to go and spend a mo­ment be­cause toi­lets don’t need to be gross.’’

The coun­cil is ask­ing the artist once again to tidy up the toi­let block and she will cre­ate 20 be­spoke tiles re­flect­ing retro ‘‘mo­ments’’ in fash­ion.

The tiles will fea­ture dif­fer­ent items of cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories from the 1950s, 60s and 70s pre­served in resin.

Monro is look­ing for up to 40 gar­ments for the project.

‘‘It’s just those re­ally amaz­ing lit­tle de­tails – but­tons, pock­ets and sleeves,’’ she says.

‘‘I set them in resin and then back­light them with LED lights so they are glow­ing lit­tle X-rays of beau­ti­ful mo­ments of New Zealand fash­ion his­tory.’’

Even dam­aged clothes ac­ces­sories can be do­nated.

Monro says it’s sad to cut up some retro gar­ments but she feels

or com­fort­able do­ing it be­cause they are then pre­served for all to see.

The tiles will be placed on the walls in­side the toi­lets along­side the ex­ist­ing sewing pat­tern painted on the ceil­ing.

A but­ton­hole sewing pat­tern fea­tures on the block’s ex­te­rior.

The coun­cil aims to have the re­pairs com­pleted by June 30 this year.

Email Cathryn Monro at xtn@xtra.co.nz to do­nate any retro fash­ion items to the project.

Photo: HUIA MONRO

Fash­ion for­ward: Cathryn Monro is hunt­ing for retro gar­ments and ac­ces­sories to pre­serve in tiles to dec­o­rate the in­side of High St’s public toi­lets. Dressed down: The High St public toi­lets had a fash­ion-themed makeover 15 years ago but are in need of spruc­ing up once again.

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