Two graduates from the Costume with Performance Design course at Arts University Bournemouth had their costumes selected for the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Show in New Zealand at the end of August.

Nicole Pitchers and Siu Ping Wang, both 2011 graduates of the University, had their designs selected from hundreds of entrants, to become part of the 35 winners who shared a $150,000 prize pool.

Nicole Pitchers originally from Hitchin Herts was awarded second prize in the Student Design Award category. This was the first time she had entered the awards with her costume ‘Chrysolophus Pictus’, which was entered in the American Express Open Section.

Nicole describes her garment as a poised and powerful golden bird infused with tribal patterns and organic textures. She commented “I took inspiration from African and Maori tribes to represent bird-like patterns. The structured corset and wings signify the posture and pride of the bird with contrast to the layered, textured shorts, symbolising the idea of nesting and feathers. I saw this competition as an opportunity to revisit and challenge the construction skills I learnt on my course. The wings were the most challenging part to create as they seemed to have a mind of their own and refused to mould into the shape I wanted, but after many sleepless nights battling against them, I am extremely pleased with the outcome and how much it represents my initial design.”

Siu Ping Wan originally from Gosport was awarded second place in the Gen-i Creative Excellence Section, ‘Under The Microscope’ with her garment ‘A Nightmare Near By’, inspired by what lies in your bed; dust mites and skin.

Siu commented “As well as looking at what lies in your bed underneath the microscope, I’ve also played with the theme – ‘you can see but you don’t’ – your bed and your body are beautiful and comfortable to you, but when you look closer there is a nightmare of dust mites and dead skin, which lies within. You see the beauty, but you don’t see the nightmare, so the garment has a feminine and pretty feel to it until you look closer to it and understand it. The process of making was interesting as I didn’t have a body to work on, and the body suit doesn’t have a shape. I kept having to guess where everything goes and to wear it myself to see, and then alter things when I had a fitting with my model. The making process was tricky for me, and I approached part of it like puppetry work.”

At the 2011 Brancott Estate WOW® Award, show winners and finalists were transported into a world of fantasy and surrealism, reminiscent of the work of the late Italian Film Director Fellini. The Show was two hours of wall-to-wall colour, energy and creativity, in a stunning choreographed performance featuring the full company of Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) dancers, professional dancers from Wellington?s Footnote Dance and the entire first year of the New Zealand School of Dance. The World of WearableArt Awards was created in 1987 to take art off the wall and adorn the human form, showcasing each creation in a dramatic setting.

Rebecca Pride, Course Leader for the Costume with Performance Design course at The Arts University Bournemouth commented “We are incredibly proud of both Nicole and Siu’s success in these awards. To have their work chosen for a competition that attracted entrants from across the world and to have it exhibited to a global audience in New Zealand, is an incredible achievement and a testament to their innovative skills and passion for design. We wish them well on their future careers within the costume industry.”