Posts tagged ‘Cult Couture’

Czarina Wilson

Title: Maori Minx
Year: 2011
Medium: Mink blanket, synthetic lining
Dimensions: Variable

Artwork Description

Maori Minx was designed for the Villa Maria Cult Couture fashion awards in 2011; it was a finalist in the ‘Recycled Revolution’ category. The five-piece ensemble is made out of re-purposed mink blankets in the popular koru design.

The outfit consists of a lined fishtail floor-length skirt with an exaggerated train, a fitted bodice, two kimono inspired detached sleeves and a hooded shrug with ties. It has proven to be quite versatile; in the original runway show, the skirt is worn as a strapless dress without the bodice. The hooded shrug itself is a stand-alone statement piece. Whether purchased for personal use or display, Maori Minx is certainly one of a kind!


Czarina Wilson has been a regular name on the Pacific competitive fashion circuit since the late 1990s. With awards and recognition for entries in the ‘Traditionally Inspired’, ‘Recycled Revolution’, ‘Streetwear’ and ‘Hero’ categories of both Westfield Style Pasifika and Villa Maria Cult Couture, Wilson has become known for her labour intensive handwork and innovative use of weaving and vinyl. She presented her first solo exhibition, entitled Plastic, at Fresh Gallery Otara in 2010 and has been involved in numerous exhibitions since then including Cult Couture Showcase curated by Doris de Pont for the 2012 Southside Arts Festival.

Wilson maintains a busy practice producing costumes, custom-made gowns, streetwear and accessories from her base in Glen Innes, East Auckland.

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I modeled this skirt for Otara-based Samoan artist and designer, Genevieve Pini for an experimental fashion editorial in the upcoming issue of SOUTH, coming out January 2013. Genevieve has often talked about how much she wanted the garments she created for South Auckland’s annual fashion and wearable art competition, Cult Couture, to be modeled by chunkier models. The editorial was an opportunity for each of the invited designers to present their garments, style and ideas in a way they had complete control over. Genevieve identified this alleyway near where she lives in Otara; she wanted to show her hood, her environment, her comfort zone as her inspiration. It came together really nicely and I can’t wait to see the final images in print.

With a few additions, this piece entitled Miss Lavalava was customised to fit me for the SOUTH photo shoot. The garment was made for the Recycled Revolution category of this year’s Cult Couture event. It is made of a recycled rice sack, a nylon carry-bag and meters and meters of fabric scraps. Genevieve observed the construction technique on a recent trip to Samoa where it is commonly used to make floor mats for the bathroom and doorway areas.

I also loved wearing Miss Lavalava to the 2012 Arts Pasifika Awards in Wellington earlier this month where it attracted a lot of attention! I was proud to represent an artist from South Auckland whose practice I’ve been watching and appreciating for the past 10 years.

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