Rad­i­cal menswear de­sign en­ters WOW

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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