High St loos will get a fashion fix
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 email@example.com to donate any retro fashion items to the project.
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.