2010 Symposium

Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 June 2010

TheNewDowse, Lower Hutt

Historically, and within current practice, costume and textiles are synonymous with survival, and are certainly no stranger to disaster. The 2010 New Zealand Costume and Textile Association conference will address the perilous theme of Hanging by a Thread. We look forward to receiving moving, inspirational, and thought provoking papers that tell tales of disaster and survival.

In April 1968 the inter island ferry Wahine headed into Cook Strait, loaded with passengers and freight. Among her various items of cargo was a small brilliantly coloured cocktail dress, lovingly packed in a suitcase. As the ferry came to its ill-fated end on Barrett’s Reef, the suitcase and dress were abandoned as its owner fled to safety on the last lifeboat. Months later “out of the fuel oil, the slimy silt and rust of the Wahine’s hold,” the dress was rescued and restored to its former glory – its miraculous recovery attributed to the survivalist properties of pure wool. To the promoters of wool this story was not only of the survival of a woman and her favourite party dress, but ammunition for an industry fighting to survive the synthetic revolution and willing to exploit every promotional opportunity at its disposal, even a national disaster.

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