16 June 2018, Peak Vision Church By A F Smythe
Crowds were queuing out the door to feast their eyes on the finalists of the Edible Fashion Awards. In their thirteenth year and by now a staple of the F.A.W.C. calendar, the evening extravaganza has perfected the recipe for celebrating consumable couture.
This year’s theme of Peace, Love and Diversity, was exemplified in the breadth of talent displayed in the guest performances that punctuated the catwalk show. Movement of the Human provided breath-taking evidence of the potential of the human body with an athletic pas-de-deux, incorporating lifts and spins. Principle dancer, Rodney Bell’s rimmed wheels flashed under the lights as his partner used the weight of his wheelchair as counterpoint. Projections of their aerial act proved that this was the iceberg’s tip of their potential.
Māori and Pasifika culture was well represented with performances from Masunu Tuua, Kahurangi Dance Theatre, and Tākitimu Performing Arts School; as well as in the designs exhibited. In the Junior Designer category, Te Kura o Pakipaki had four entries selected as finalists, which must be some kind of record for a school of fewer than a hundred students. They chose to represent various deities associated with food and agriculture and, for their industry, were rewarded with first runner-up for Rongomaraeroa. In the Adult Designer Category, Kimi was inspired by the cultural tapestry of the students at Kimi Ora Community School.
Sadako’s Legend took the Junior Designer prize, with a kimono bedecked with a thousand golden origami cranes. Inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, and the Japanese practice of folding cranes in order to make wishes or dreams come true, the piece displayed a genuine connection with Japanese culture – an act of cultural appreciation worlds apart from Trelise Cooper style appropriation.
Karen Kara created Peaceful Warrior in response to her battle with cancer and her journey to finding a place of peace with her body. She strode the runway with a ferocious pride well earned by her artistry as well as her tenacity for life.
There was no question the Top Model Award belonged to Jamie Holway, who claimed it as his own from the moment he sashayed onto the catwalk, looking as if he’d just stepped out of a frame of Paris is Burning.
Rainbows featured heavily, most notably in M&M Madness, the exquisitely tailored Somewhere Over the Rainbow (constructed from dyed sausage skin), and Uenuki and the Mist Maiden, which won the Avant-Garde Award. Designers played with live plants in the adorable I Have to Eat My Greens, and the jaw-dropping, wonderfully impractical Growing for Nourishment.
The day belonged to Katherine Bertram and There Are Many More Fish in The Sea, a fitted bodice made from dried fish skins with a ruffled skirt made from rice paper written on with squid ink. She took the top prize in the Adult Designer Category, as well earning the title of 2018 Hastings Art & Culture Trust Designer of the Year. Her piscine hat, choker, earrings and clutch purse picked up a further award for the finest accessories. Taking inspiration from the love letters she exchanged with her husband, the thought behind the piece elevates it to a fine art. By all accounts, although glorious to behold, the outfit stank to high heaven. If such suffering in the name of art is not a true embodiment of the nature of love, then what is?
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