The annual Aotearoa summer dress and textile crawl, 2021-2022

D2021.50 Embroidered cap, late 19th century, Central Asia. Photograph Jen Copedo, copyright Otago Museum.

It’s just about time for the annual post on what’s on around Aotearoa New Zealand in the CTANZ sphere of interest but it’s quite the season. This is just a starter: look forward to more detailed posts over the next few weeks, but for now, a quick taster of what we have to look forward to, between now and next April, from south to north.

Otago Museum’s It’s in the making showcases eminent weaver and textile scholar Margery Blackman’s personal collection of mostly household textiles, mostly from the West Asian region.

Christchurch Art Gallery is also catering for textile enthusiasts this summer with Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi, ‘celebrating the mana of the senior Māori weavers of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the complexity and beauty of their work’.

At Nelson’s Broadgreen Historic House, The Secret Lies Lives of Dresses ponders the backstories of sixteen garments from Broadgreen’s extensive clothing and textile collection.

The curatorial team admire a Vinka Lucas gown.

Heading northwards, the Dowse has got not one but two exhibitions to hang out for: the invasion of the northern island by the Maniatoto’s finest private collection of gowns from the stages of the 1970s and 80s. Eden Hore: High Country/High Fashion opened a couple of weeks ago and is on through to March’s arts festival. Also just opened is Silk Web, which “explores the artisan textile production in Central Asia that is being innovatively re-examined by contemporary artists”.

Across the way at Te Papa, the new Rita Angus exhibition deserves a mention on the grounds that her portraiture offers some excellent outfits and depiction thereof, while Feathermania: fashion to die for, the exhibition curated to coincide with the release of Claire Regnault’s book Dressed: Fashionable Women’s Dress 1840 to 1910 (Te Papa Press), runs until April 2022. (Claire, co-curator of the Eden Hore exhibition, has had a very productive year, well done that woman.)

The Whanganui Regional Museum is matching two decades a century apart in Dressed to Thrill: Fashion & Accessories from the 1890s and 1990s.

And then we get to Auckland, for the blockbuster: Mary Quant, Fashion Revolutionary from the V&A. My personal Quant collection included a Daisy doll, an iridescent nail polish and a sticky magenta lipgloss and maybe even that lovely tiny silver can of Havoc. This one is definitely on my list, if I can get there. Oh, and there’s a movie by Sadie Frost.

And if you can’t get there, it might be a good summer to catch up on reading. Perhaps Claire’s aforementioned book. Perhaps Context. Perhaps Otago Polytechnic’s Scope 21, the fashion issue, edited by Stella Lange and Margo Barton and featuring quite a few CTANZ stalwarts.

Thanks to all the curators and editors who’ve given us the above, and if you should be on the list, please let me know so I can add it to the odyssey. Meanwhile, from the CTANZ team, wishing all our members and followers a happy and safe Christmas. We know you’ll have the best masks for the duration, and here’s to 2022 seeing a return to better days.

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