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The wacky world of wearable art

Owl City's Fireflies famous music video had a bedroom come alive and at the 2012 Brancott Estate World of WearableArt Awards Show, a similar scene opened events as the characters of a little girl’s imagination revealed themselves – the pyjama-clad child played with giant stuffed toys and a real life musical-box ballet dancer, as around her beetles, buzzy bees, butterflies, spiders, flowers and red cabbages, and even a sock monster moved around to the music of childhood memories. 

Now in its 24th year, the WOW Show brought to life 164 designs over two hours. Wellington's Vector Orchestra musicians wowed viewers playing while suspended from the ceiling on a wingback chair and clawfooted bath. while their peers formed a huge junk pile onstage beneath them. But the sci-fi inspired final – the WOW & Classic Car Museum Bizarre Bra Section – took the cake. A fire breathing performer, space policemen and a giant alien octopus formed the wacky backdrop for an outlandish collection of underwear, bringing down the house.

And for the first time, the same designers won four of the top awards, taking home $42,000 in prizes.

Shanghai-based design team Yuru Ma and Mengyue Wu from Donghua University were behind supreme winning entry Delight of Light and supreme runner-up Revive, both of which also won top placings in their sections.

What's more, it was their first time entering WOW.

“During the WOW judging process, we are only told the entry’s name and its inspiration, so we were very surprised when we found out that Yuru and Mengyue were the designers for both the supreme winner and runner-up," explains WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff

“It is an extraordinary accomplishment, especially when it is their first time entering WOW. Their talent is astounding, and I am confident they will be designers to look out for in the future.”

She says the China-based degree students’ interest in WOW this year follows recent visits she and competition director Heather Palmer made to their universities to promote the WOW competition and showcase WearableArt as a tangible project for aspiring designers.

Traditional Progress, Tsz Kwan Au, Hong Kong Precious Childhood, Chan Yee Wing, Hong Kong Dark Side, Emily Chan Tse Ying, Hong Kong Korowai, Sally Davis and Chris Nutter, Invercargill Velluto Rosso, Paula Rowan, Wellington