Radical menswear design enters WOW
New Zealand men should shed their dull garb and embrace the peacock within, and Whitby woman Cherryl Marriott is about to show them how.
A weddingwear designer and all-round creative virtuoso, Mrs Marriott has had a radical menswear design accepted into this year’s World of WearableArt (WOW) awards.
Her entry into WOW’s ‘‘ Man Unleashed’’ category, entitled ‘‘Proud as a peacock’’, attempts to elevate men to the glamour of their preening, multicoloured animal counterparts.
‘‘Men’s clothing is boring and dull, even for weddings,’’ she says. ‘‘All of the male creatures, certainly the bird population, they’re the ones with the plumage.’’
While WOW rules forbid Mrs Marriott from describing her garment before August’s show, she says it is unlike any existing menswear.
‘‘It’s not a suit, it’s not what you would normally see a man wearing by any means.’’
The outfit took about 150 hours of work, she estimates, with a full week, days and evenings, worth of beadwork, and four days of embroidery.
For Mrs Marriott, however, creating is a joy. ‘‘To me sewing is pleasure, it’s what I do. Other people find it a chore.’’
This is Mrs Marriott’s fifth and only successful attempt to get a garment into the WOW show.
Previous entries include a children’s tutu made of 10,000 0.22 bullet cartridges, a bizarre bra depicting a painful mammogram, and a gown inspired by Tahiti’s lagoons.
However, she has had more success in collaboration with her design lecturer daughter Tanya, who started entering WOW while at university in 2002.
Both women are inspired by history, especially of their own family. Mrs Marriott’s father was a Royal Air Force pilot who bombed Dresden during World War II before being captured in Sweden.
Tanya has created several WOW garments inspired by her grandfather, including an ANZAC poppy outfit and a gown depicting the RAF’s 1000 Lancaster bomber aeroplanes.
For her part Mrs Marriott has submitted a pair of outfits combining Pacific and Scottish design elements celebrating her Scottish heritage.
Textile art is second nature to Mrs Marriott, who was inspired both by her seamstress mother and her uncles in Devon mending willow crab pots.
Her creativity has opened many career doors, from sewing some of the first waterproof skiwear in New Zealand to working on The Lord of the Rings films, making Rohan armour and hairy hobbit skin, and even appearing briefly as a hobbit herself.
World of WearableArt, TSB Arena, August 25 to September 10. Tickets $90.
Crafty lady: Cherryl Marriott has created World of WearableArt entries based on childhood memories, holidays, and family history – these garment echo her Scottish ancestry.