Grief the catalyst for winning design

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Night life . . .This design by Viv Tamblyn, of Gore won the Peroni Nightlife Award open section on Saturday. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

The piece which stole the show in the Hokonui Fashion Design Peroni Nightlife open section on Saturday was inspired by last year’s lockdown.

Designer Viv Tamblyn’s winning garment has a story of loss behind it.

“It’s called my lockdown dress and [represents] the pain and grief which came with it.”

The dress was dedicated to her father, who died on the night the country went into lockdown.

“It was nobody’s fault but he died alone and we had to wait three months until we could hold a funeral.”

She decided in her grief and pain to design the dress, she said.

“I thought yellow was a colour which makes you feel happy, like the sun.”

The cross displayed on the front of the dress was made from bathroom tiles.

“The cross is a sign that he has passed and I hope he is in a better place.”

She felt “emotional” and “honoured” to have won the nightlife award, she said.

“I think all designers need to be recognised, especially when you put your heart and soul into everything,” she said.

She had three entries in this year’s competition.

One of her entries won the O’Connor Richmond Best Use of Wool Award.

That garment featured 7m of fabric.

“I love working with wool, but I wanted to create something that was 100% sustainable and biodegradable.

“I kept putting the ruffles on until I had no material left so there was zero waste.”

It was a thrill to see her garments on the catwalk, she said.

She acknowledged the event co-ordinators and volunteers who helped with the fashion gala.

“Without them there would be no show.”