Fashion & Feathers at Novadown’s Wearable Art Show

"Party Girl" by Jennie Hasler-Jacobs

Absolut vanilla and berry cocktails, Asthma friendly feathers and an array of fantastic fashion set the scene for this year’s Novadown Fashioned Feathers Wearable Art Show. Held in the Dunedin’s Otago Museum ticket holders were treated to a night of wonderful wearable arts consisting of a Public Collection section (open to all) and a Designer Collection section.

Senorita Awesumo's "Te Aniwaniwa Manu"

In the spirit of wearable art there were definitely some more creative designs on display in the public collection that tickled the audiences fancy.

Hannah Fitzgerald’s “Pavlova” experimented with volume and structure with a puffed full skirt emulating the “crunchy, gooey, marshmellowie” textures of the classic kiwi dessert. I thought the structure and surface design were great and the piece was quite a literal interpretation of a Pavlova. Fitzgerald topped the look off with a quirky kiwifruit fascinator adding a pinch of quirky kiwiana to the mix. I couldn’t help but think the full skirt would’ve looked even more impressive with a strappy well fitted bodice in similar materials to the skirt.

Hannah Fitzgerald's 'Pavlova' Dress

A definite favourite of mine was Sarah Louise Macdonald’s “La Plume en Rose by eighteen forty-five” This piece was just amazing to look at and must have taken hours to create with hundreds of feathers adorning the front of the dress. The phrase “Pretty in Pink” doesn’t do the harmonious palette justice with soft gradients of pink starting at the bottom in a pink-red and moving into white up the length of the dress. The overall look was well integrated and had an air of haute couture; the judges must have thought so to because they placed this palette of plume runner up.

La Plume en Rose by eighteen forty-five

However the winning place and the nights Fashion Award went to my absolute favourite of the whole night Aamhes Quince’s “Angels of Ghosts?” For me this piece represented real Wearable Art. A host of angels adorned the blackened canvas of the body.

Winged Angels Adorn the Back

Strategically placed to create a dramatic silhouette that perched on the shoulders of the model and moved down around the torso. Although overall the piece was beautiful the eerie Donna Demente-like faces of the angels were quite haunting.

Aamhes Quince’s “Angels of Ghosts?”

The Designer Collection was a bit more upbeat and was more a reflection on each designer’s commercial taste. This section show cased works from New Zealand designers such as Michelle Yvette, Ketz-ke, Basquesse and Milliner Amy Jansen Leen.

Michelle Yvette's Feathered Dress

Dunedin designers were present including St Clair Design, Jane Sutherland, Linda Lobb of Novadown and iD Emerging Designers Pacific Blue Prize Winner Laura Marshall. Each of the designers donated their garments to be auctioned off to the audience with all proceeds going to The Asthma Foundation.


If I was a neat size 8 I would’ve been hands- flailing-wild during the auction for Ketz-Ke’s feathered version of the LBD. The whole thing was so elegant with the seamless sheer upper bodice, delicate tucked pleats, synched waist and full skirt with black feather trim. Ketz-ke designer Jenny Drury aims to create “quality, casual, style led contemporary clothing that stands out from the crowd.” This dress did just that with its subtle elegance and well executed balance of contrasting materials. Some lucky lady in the crowd loved it to and took it home for $325.

The Ketz-Ke LBD

St Clair designs piece “On the Wings of a Dove” turned heads as it came down runway and was definitely the most creative piece of the section. Designer Dallas Cunningham was inspired by female aviators “We borrowed the shape of the flying hat, with the bow on the chest proudly representing propellers.” For me the piece was beautifully made and eloquent of the fantasy of flying. The dove feather trim and eyelashes moved softly as the model (who was stunning!) came down the catwalk. The playful shade of purple and coyly placed bow made it youthful and fun, Amelia Earhart meets Alice in Wonderland.

St Clair's "On the Wings of a Dove"

Jane Sutherland’s entry sold for the most at a whopping $400. The lucky bidder took home a very sleek and stylish ensemble of black satin skinny pants, a draped black silk overdress, a white ruffled collar shirt, black gloves and two handcrafted feather necklaces. The necklaces were my favourite of the lot with their simplistic black colouring with copper ring and single black feather they were elegant, marketable and different.

Jane Sutherland's Ensemble

The whole night was great and was all for a good cause. Dunedin based company Novadown strive to create designer downs and feather duvets that are sensitive choice and are committed to reducing asthma and allergy triggers. All the money raised went to the Asthma Foundation and created a canvas for New Zealand (budding included) designers to contribute to a good cause. Nom*D owner, Designer and Fashioned Feathers guest judge Margi Robertson expected “duvets turned into coats” but instead was treated to a night of “sculpture, beauty and the important element of unpredictability.” I completely agree with Margi and couldn’t have summed it up better myself.

Review: Charlotte Carr
Photographer: Mike McQueen

10 Responses to “Fashion & Feathers at Novadown’s Wearable Art Show”
  1. fiona says:

    just wondering why you haven’t said anything about the rainbow looking one, who made it? why feature a picture and give no information?


    • nzfashion says:

      Hey Fiona, If you click on the image it takes you to the article about the designer collection. It’s from an Australian Designer called Birthday Suit. Hope that helps. 🙂

      • fiona clements says:

        It’s made by Senorita Awesumo from Dunedin, She is a 2nd year fashion student at Otago Polytech. It is entitled Te Aniwaniwa Manu.

      • nzfashion says:

        Hi Fiona, You are quite right. We didn’t have information about the garment. But now that you have kindly supplied it, I shall update our site. Thanks!

    • nzfashion says:

      Hi again Fiona, You seem to be in the ‘know’ about all of the designers. You wouldn’t happen to know who the designed the very first ensemble, with the young woman holding the mask to her face? Thanks for all of your help, we really appreciate it. Sometimes we can’t get everything right, but we try,

      • Jennie Hasler-Jacobs says:

        Hi there, The Designer of “Party Girl” is me! I am hairdresser in Balclutha and I had a great time messing up our house with feathers creating her! I was no.5 on the programme if you need info. Cheers J

      • nzfashion says:

        Hi Jennie, Thank you so much for getting in touch. I have updated the image right NOW! I wasn’t at the show and it’s tricky with naming images when our photographer has hundreds of pic’s to deal with & our writer might only reference a few designers etc. Anyyyyway, I am going to change how we do things from now on, as I want to give credit where it’s due & it can be upsetting when people are not recognised. Thanks again!

      • fiona says:

        thank you for the recognition.


        senorita awesumo

  2. hannah fitzgerald says:

    thank you so much for the review, rapted to have been mentioned on this site, I had real fun designing and creating my pavlova piece, also in your review for you to have mentioned a fitting bodice was fantastic as I had considered this. There was a huge cake slice to go with the pavlova for the model (my cousin) to carry but the dressers did not see it in time. Absolute fun to create and have modelled. Thank You. Hannah Fitzgerald

    • nzfashion says:

      Hey Hannah, Thanks for your comments. The Pav’ dress is quite something & its great to see designers having fun with what they are making! Keep up the great design work 🙂 Melody

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