A weekend of art and fashion in Wellington and Tauranga

A weekend of art and fashion in Wellington and Tauranga

Senior Curator New Zealand History Claire Regnault previews events at Te Papa this weekend, and a new exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery, bringing together fashion and art.

This your last week to see Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists at Te Papa, before it disappears back of house to get ready to tour.

Installation view of Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists. Photo by Claire Regnault. Te Papa

The Sisters once described themselves as being like the Polynesian version of Andy Warhol’s factory – an ever-evolving collective of artists coming together to create art, music, fashion, and film.

Campbell Soup Company, “The Souper Dress”, 1967. Te Papa (GH015796)

The above throwaway paper dress, which was known as the “Souper Dress”, wasn’t made by Andy Warhol, but references his repetitive use of the Campbell’s Soup can label. The dress was actually commissioned by Campbell’s and was offered to customers for the price of two soup labels and US$1. It represents an excellent example of the intersection of fashion, art, and commerce – the very essence of Pop Art.

The relationship between art and fashion, and its long and complicated history, is the subject of a lecture by Dr Peter McNeil this Friday evening (Friday 13 July, 5.30pm).

Fashion Matters: Art, Fashion & Society

Peter McNeil is an internationally renowned fashion historian, and is currently Distinguished Professor of Design History at University of Technology, Sydney. His lecture on fashion and art is the first of a series of six lectures at Te Papa over the next few months entitled ‘Fashion Matters: Art, Fashion & Society’.

In the series Peter explores a range of subjects from the Incroyables and Merveilleuses of revolutionary France to England’s ‘pretty gentlemen’ of 1760s – which included Sir Joseph Banks – to the allure of shoes, from fairy tales to the cult of shoe designers.

For more information on each lecture and to book, visit the Friends of Te Papa.

In his latest book Pretty Gentlemen, Peter McNeil explores the Macaroni men of the 18th century. He was also the main author of Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715 to 2015. Photo by Claire Regnault. Te Papa

Children of Mallarmé: Fashion, Art & Collaboration

The creative relationships between artists and fashion designers are also at the heart of a new exhibition at the Tauranga Art Gallery. The exhibition is named after Stéphane Mallarmé, a Symbolist poet who in 1874 published a spirited fashion-based journal,  La Dernière Mode, as an art project. The exhibition highlights collaborations between New Zealand and Australian fashion designers and visual artists over the past three decades.

Much to our delight, Children of Mallarmé includes several loans from Te Papa’s fashion collection – namely garments by Jimmy D and Andrew McLeod and Doris de Pont with John Pule, Richard Killeen, and Tracey Williams.

The collaborators in Children of Mallarme include fashion designer Jimmy D and artist Andrew McLeod. The Helvette tee and Vengeance dress (A/W 2011) in the centre is from Te Papa’s collection, and is shown alongside Jimmy D and McLeod’s CHAOS dress (A/W 2012), Jimmy D’s 79AD shirt dress (S/S 2019), and Andrew McLeod’s painting Large yellow green diptych, 2015. Photo courtesy of Tauranga Art Gallery

Jimmy D and Andrew McLeod

The Jimmy D ensemble from Te Papa is from James Dobson’s A/W 2011 collection Until the Light Takes Us, which was launched at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2010.

Many of the silk pieces, like the over-sized Helvette tee which you can see in the above image, were digitally printed with one of two designs by Andrew McLeod, an Auckland-based artist and musician. Of the collaboration James commented:

Initially I had this vision of a Metallica-Goth girl. I imagined her wearing a printed band T-shirt and deconstructing it in certain ways. I’d seen Andrew’s work and his incredible band T-shirts. I approached him and talked about my ideas. He introduced me to the world of Norwegian black metal. There is consistent theme that runs through that art work – lots of bracken and trees.

He worked again with McLeod the following year on Its a Kinda Magick, for which McLeod created Chinoiserie-inspired prints mixed with images of brain scans, circuitry, and burgeoning flowers.

Doris de Pont – a serial collaborator

As Peter McNeil observes, for centuries artists have engaged with and influenced fashion, ‘many designing the very stuff of its support – cloth’. When Doris de Pont launched her eponymous label in 2004, she decided from the outset that she would work with different artists each season to produce unique fabrics.

The Tauranga exhibition highlights her collaborations with John Pule, Richard Killeen, and Tracey Williams (below), whose work is inspired by sailor tattoos with their hearts, swallows, and roses.

Doris de Pont with Tracy Williams, True Love, 2004. Doris de Pont with Tracy Williams, ‘l’amour’ tattoo (worn under dress), 2003. Tracey Williams, Small Honorary Keepsake Frock for Cherokee Rose (a), 2007. Photo courtesy of Tauranga Art Gallery

Children of Mallarmé runs until 16 September.

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