Posts written by Claire Regnault

Award-winning garments from the rag pile

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  • 1780s-style dress pieced together from an unpicked 1730s dress. Te Papa (PC002687)
  • Opera cape made in the 1920s from a 1910s skirt. Te Papa  (PC003668)

Before you throw out your tired bits of clothing, consider giving them new life through upcycling. Senior history curator Claire Regnault highlights a collection of garments acquired by Te Papa in 2015 that are made from material originally destined for landfill. Recently I attended an illustrated talk by Beth Brown-Reinsel, an American practitioner and writer who… Read more »

Xena’s costume goes on display in Christchurch

Claire Regnault, Senior Curator New Zealand Culture and History, talks about the legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess and a new exhibition in Christchurch, We Could Be Heroes: The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where her costume is currently starring until Oct 2017. The history of Xena In 1995 a new heroine, tormented… Read more »

An action-packed Anzac week: WWI, live performances, arts and craft, and fashion

S. Rosamond Praeger working on the decoration of the 
façade of the Thomas Andrews/Titanic Memorial Hall. Photo courtesy of Joseph McBrinn.

The forthcoming ‘Anzac week’ is going to be an action packed one for Te Papa, with a wide range of events on offer for both adult and family audiences that explores aspects of the First World War and beyond. Family theatre – An Awfully Big Adventure If you are looking for a family outing over Anzac Weekend, you might… Read more »

Smokin’! When cigarettes and fashion went hand in hand

Before cigarette advertising was banned in New Zealand, Benson & Hedges enjoyed a close relationship with the fashion industry. Senior history curator Claire Regnault looks at the role tobacco played in the Fashion Design Awards. Turning dreams into gold Last weekend I travelled to Dunedin to attend iD Fashion Week’s famous railway fashion show and to see the exhibition When Dreams Turn to… Read more »

In memory of Andrew Pfeiffer – Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ‘Master of the Wardrobe’

Andrew Pfeiffer - Wardrobe Master of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Credit Susana Lei’ataua  Courtesy of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Senior history curator Claire Regnault pays tribute to New Zealand costumier and ‘Master of the Wardrobe’ at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Andrew Pfeiffer. On Friday 3 March, Andrew Pfeiffer passed away at the age of 69 at Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington, surrounded by friends. Andrew, who was also known as Drew, or simply… Read more »

International Women’s Day – inspiring ‘women’s work’

  • Lady Plunket. S P Andrew Ltd :Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-014571-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
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  • Eco Warrior Laurie Foon behind the scenes at NZ Fashion Week, 2009. Photography courtesy of Megan Robinson, Thread magazine.
  • Dress

Today is International Women’s Day. Initiated in 1910, International Women’s Day is ‘a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women’. This year’s theme is Women in the Changing World of Work. Playing with this idea, we would like to pay homage to women who have sought to create change through their work. We are… Read more »

Design students inspired by Te Papa’s collections

Botanical inspired placement embroideries by Verity Morison, Fern Grant and Lauren Ewan, 2016. Photo by Claire Regnault.

Each year, the history curators take design students from Massey University though Te Papa’s collections behind the scenes. The students choose an item to inspire their own design and it’s around this time of year we see what they’ve created. Curator Claire Regnault shares some of the fabulous designs.  Refashioning the national wardrobe Each July students from Massey University’s second… Read more »

Curator Claire Regnault discusses the declaration that ‘fashion is dead’ – a question at the heart of this year’s End of Fashion conference, hosted in Wellington. In 2015 Li Edelkoort, a highly regarded trend forecaster, made international headlines with her declaration that fashion is dead. To support her claims she published an anti-fashion manifesto in which she… Read more »

Remembering Avis Higgs: painter, designer, and ‘a truly awesome woman’

Swan Top, from Laurie Foon's 2005 collection Black Swan. The textile design was created by Avid Higgs in the 1940s.

Last week, we received the sad news that Avis Higgs had passed away just a few days after celebrating her 98th birthday. Avis Higgs was known to many as a painter. She was actively involved in the Architectural Centre Gallery, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Watercolour Society of New Zealand.  She is also… Read more »

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Ethel Tweedie’s celebrity table-cloths

What dinner party conversation riled up this well dressed gent?

Following a recent blog post featuring a suffragette signature handkerchief, I became curious about the origins of what is collectively known as ‘signature cloths’. Just when did signature cloths become ‘a thing’ and what was their purpose?  Rozsika Parker, author of The Subversive Stitch, describes signature cloths as a ‘female social tradition by which guests would embroider their signatures for their hostess to commemorate… Read more »