Fashionista gifts Spirit of Gold painting
Auckland fashionista Robyn Hall had never met Paralympian alpine skiers Adam Hall and Elitsa Storey before, but decided three weeks ago to give them a present on their wedding day.
The managing director of High Society is a partially sighted, adaptive alpine skier and no relation to Adam Hall.
As Adam and Elitsa shared their wedding vows at a Dunedin venue on May 4, Robyn Hall was at her Wanaka holiday home sharing the sunshine with her pet alpacas.
When she saw Paralympic NZ’s Spirit of Gold exhibition for sale on Trade Me about three weeks ago, she decided to buy Adam Hall’s portrait.
Robyn Hall previously supported another Paralympian skier, Peter Williams, who competed at the Vancouver Paralympics.
‘‘I am an adaptive skier myself and I just wanted to give back to the Paralympics.
‘‘I decided to gift it back because although it is of a person I don’t particularly know, I know of him and he has been an inspiration to me. When I heard his wedding was coming up I thought he won’t have money to spend on himself . . . I thought it would be fantastic for him to have this in his memory box,’’ Hall said.
So Hall gave the portrait to Snow Sports NZ officials, who arranged to deliver it to Adam and Elitsa Hall.
Adam Hall, 29, has competed at three Paralympics and countless world championships, clocking up one Paralympic gold, two world cup golds and numerous other achievements and medals.
The Dunedin born athlete has been part of the New Zealand Disabled Ski Team since 2005 and is aiming to be selected for the 2018 Paralympics.
Elitsa, 29, is a two-time Paralympian skier from the United States and has retired from top level competition.
Adam Hall’s portrait has been on exhibition at a Paralympics conference at the Rydges Hotel in Queenstown this week. Fairfax understands at least seven of the 12 portraits have now sold.
Robyn Hall started skiing when she was 40 and her first effort ended terribly when she fell on ice and suffered a large haematoma on her backside.
When she recovered she took lessons, but 10 years down the track, her eyesight had changed dramatically.
She was diagnosed with a neurological condition called blepharospasm, that causes involuntary eye twitching and eyelid closures.
‘‘It got quite bad. Peter’s mother [Susie] is a girlfriend of mine and told me to learn to ski as a blind skier. So I learned in Canada,’’ Robyn Hall said.
For a while, guides had to call every single turn for her, but her condition has improved now so that all she needs to do is keep close to her guide’s heels.
Treatment has included botox to control the muscles, Alexander technique and meditation, and Robyn Hall is relieved that the twitching has ‘‘pretty much gone’’.
However, she had suffered the double whammy of glaucoma and endured several surgeries to address that condition.
‘‘I am determined not to let it stop me,’’ she grinned.
Recently returned from a seven month trip to Italy, Robyn Hall is looking forward to returning to Auckland in about a month.
Robyn Hall has spent 53 years in the fashion business.
She recently stepped aside from full time work but is still the managing director of High Society, founded by her late husband Bill in the 1960s.
Robyn oversees fashion labels Catalyst, Obi, Mosaic and Chocolat, in her role as managing director.
The couple built their holiday home on the outskirts of Wanaka in 2004.
Bill Hall died in 2013.
Auckland fashion identity Robyn Hall at her Wanaka holiday home. The art work is by Martin Hill.
Amber Stephens’ Spirit of Gold portrait of Adam Hall.