Posts written by Claire Regnault

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 »

Bring on the bum roll… Dressing for Splendour

Robe à l’anglaise retroussé or English-back gown, 1770-1780. Te Papa.

Bottoms have been in the news again lately. The conversation has been around what must be the 21st century’s most famous derrière, that of American celebrity Kim Kardashian. Indeed, in May she received a Webby award for ‘breaking the internet’ – a feat achieved with a bare-bottomed shoot for Paper Magazine. More recently British actress Helen Mirren chimed in, praising the celebrity for promoting another body… Read more »

Marking Suffrage Day – remembering Frances Parker

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Today marks the anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. 123 years ago New Zealand became the world’s first self-governing country to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. (It is worth noting, however, that although New Zealand women were the first to be granted the vote, women in the Cook Islands were the… Read more »

Special screening: The Battle of the Somme

Black and white photo of William Keith Berry

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. The British High Commission, in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Wellington City Council, Ticketek New Zealand present a special screening of the internationally acclaimed film “The Battle of the Somme”.

Hello from the Tauranga Art Gallery

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  • Garments in waiting.
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  • Werta, 2005 from the Vagrant's Reception Centre wears a woollen skirt and bodice dating from c. 1895. Image courtesy of Yvonne Todd.

In 2014 I was invited by the City Gallery in Wellington to curate a ‘Frock Room’ as part of Creamy Psychology, a major retrospective exhibition of photographer Yvonne Todd. The ‘Frock Room’ featured glamorous gowns from Todd’s personal collection which she used to create portraits of various women, real and imagined. I am currently working with Yvonne… Read more »

Fashion Revolution Day

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This Sunday marks Fashion Revolution Day. Any one can take part. All you need to do is ask one simple question: ‘Who made my clothes?’ Fashion Revolution Day and Week was founded by people within the fashion industry in response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April 2013. 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500… Read more »

Call for papers – Myriad faces of war

In April 2017, Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its legacy, a unique international, multidisciplinary symposium showcasing academic and creative work on the year 1917 and its myriad legacies, will be taking place at Te Papa. The symposium is being organised by colleagues from the WHAM (War History Heritage Art & Memory) Research Network, Massey and Auckland universities… Read more »

Annual Costume & Textile symposium: registrations open

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The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand has just opened registrations for its symposium which is taking place at Massey University, Wellington on 7- 8 July. The year’s theme, Nature Now, provides the opportunity to explore historical, contemporary and even future connections between nature, dress and textiles. The symposium is open to members and non-members alike. Held annually, it… Read more »

Today is International Women’s Day –  a time to ‘reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.’ This year’s theme is Planet 50-50 by 2030 which envisages ‘a world where all women and… Read more »