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Supernova wins supreme award at WOW

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/09/2016

New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders has won the supreme award at the World of Wearable Arts show with a costume called Supernova inspired by a movie sea monster and Nasa images.

It was the English-born designer's ninth win from 16 entries in the competition known simply as WOW. Supernova was the winner of this year's avant garde section.

There were 133 entries by 163 designers competing for 40 awards with a combined value of $165,000.

A total of 12 New Zealand-designed garments won 17 awards and 23 awards were won by 19 international designs.

Saunders started in furnishing and textile design and her work in theatre includes as a props maker for the Court Theatre in Christchurch. Her 2013 garment Inkling won the Weta: Creature Carnival Award and an internship for Saunders at Weta Workshop.

For Supernova she says she was inspired by a famous dress, a sea monster fin and images from space.

"I was inspired by the texture and colours of Thierry Mugler's Chimera dress and the iridescent spiny fins of the Hippocampus from the Percy Jackson movie The Sea of Monsters and some incredible NASA images taken by the Hubble telescope," Saunders says.

She used recycled leather, gems and marker pen ink to make the garment.

The show employs more than 350 cast and crew and plays to an audience of 58,000 during its three-week season finishing October 9.

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