Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FASHION, KARLYA SMITH -

In the hands of the dar­ing, get­ting dressed can be as much of an art form as weav­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy or paint­ing.

You may not be able to draw, but get­ting dressed is just as valid a form of ex­pres­sion, and has the same abil­ity to com­fort or dis­turb, make a point or start a con­ver­sa­tion.

As a keen observer of the art world, I can’t help but be drawn to cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories cov­ered in colour­ful and tex­tu­ral de­signs that look as if they’re painted di­rectly on to the gar­ment.

In re­cent years, ges­tu­ral and painterly prints have be­come a main­stay of many New Zealand de­signer ranges. Bou­tique de­sign­ers may not be able to buy the me­ter­age of fab­ric re­quired to se­cure a tex­tile ex­clu­sively from a fab­ric im­porter, so rather than risk a dou­ble-up with an­other de­signer, they de­velop them in-house or in col­lab­o­ra­tion with an artist. Af­ter all, print is the per­fect ve­hi­cle for con­vey­ing a sea­son’s theme.

New Zealand-born Aus­tralia-based artist and mu­si­cian Reg Mom­bassa is be­hind the cheeky print on the Rol­las beach shorts, while LaLA de­signer Sarah-Jane Duff was drawn to the en­ergy of Alice Spar­row’s paint­ing Fizzy Drink, which she fash­ioned into pants, dresses and tops, as part of her sum­mer range of “fat­shion”.

Then there’s Kow­tow, which has col­lab­o­rated with Aus­tralian wa­ter­colour artist and tex­tile de­signer Lau­ren Cas­sar for the print on this sarong, part of the brand’s newly re­leased sus­tain­able swimwear range.

In a care­fully cu­rated wardrobe there’s room for a touch of colour or an ex­pres­sive print.

Kow­tow Lines shirt , $239

In­grid Starnes bikini top, $159

LaLA hat, $120

Juli­ette Ho­gan cami, $299

One Tea­spoon pants, $189

Ksubi Scrib­bles men’s shirt, $165

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