Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Cultural Heartland - a Blacklog feature

Winner Linda Le Pou with her amazing creation

Manakau Mayor (and first choice Supercity Mayor) Len Brown took the stage at the Villa Maria Cult Couture awards last Saturday night and delivered a passionate speech about the event, embued with a deep understanding of the vast creative talent that lies within the sprawling borders of Auckland's deep south. He was effusive, and rightly so, for this year's Cult Couture did much to confirm the event's potential as one of Aotearoa's most important creative events. It might be set each year at the waka-like Telstra Clear Events Centre but the awards are open to fashion designers from anywhere, any age, any culture, and of any persuasion. 

It's an intoxicating amalgam of fashion, art, performance, music and the unexpected - and we love it. Black Fashion Director Rachael Churchward and designer Adrian Hailwood were a judges for the third year running, this year, alongside Showroom 22's PR maestro Murray Bevan, and all of the judges were impressed with the quality of creativity, craftsmanship and plain hard work that had gone into the winning outfits this year. Yet Cult Couture is more than just frocks; music, dance, sets, stage, choreography and lighting all play an integral part. The three divas (and I don't use that term lightly) from Diva, the band, once again filled the auditorium with voices so sweet and strong the hairs on the back of our necks were doing a jig. 

Diva's Cherie Matheson played hostess appearing regularly on moving podiums and in the wings of the room, introducing each award or segment with a song. TV3's Alistair Wilkinson narrated the evening to a fabulous script, and presented the awards like the professional he is. Throughout the night the performances were punctuated with great touches - ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, Marie Antionette and to the Churchword's delight, marching girls from the British Guards Marching Team. A Cult Couture has to be experienced rather than written about though, so next year, make a point of getting along. Cult Couture is something special...