Black in fashion
It’s a staple of the kiwi wardrobe and embedded in the national psyche. New Zealanders’ obsession with the colour black is explored in a new book and online exhibition curated by alumna Doris de Pont.
Doris de Pont was one of the most inventive and iconic New Zealand fashion designers of her day.
An Anthropology graduate, she forged an internationally successful design label, Doris de Pont, from Auckland’s High Street district in 1987.
She spent 24 years in fashion design, before leaving her label in 2008 to return to study, completing an Honours degree in the Faculty of Arts’ Museums and Cultural Heritage programme.
This inspired her to set up the New Zealand Fashion Museum, the world’s first online museum of fashion, and to curate a book capturing the blackwashing of New Zealand fashion.
“Why we identify with wearing black in New Zealand has not really been posed and written about. How is it that black has become so much a part of our identity? Why do we wear it and have we always done? Is there a history that illuminates that?,” asks Doris.
Black: The History of Black in Fashion, Society and Culture in New Zealand (2012), launched in March, is a collection of ten essays by experts in their fields that celebrate and explore the importance of black to the fabric of New Zealand society. Doris contributes her own chapter asking ‘Why do we wear black?’
Doris also recently curated the Black in Fashion exhibition to coincide with Rugby World Cup. It brought together more than 60 classic black garments, mostly from private wardrobes, spanning New Zealand’s fashion tastes from 1892 to the present day.
The collection was physically shown in a “pop up” exhibition (at Britomart and in the Tower building in Wellington) before the garments were returned to their owners.
Doris plans to make the collection available to view on the New Zealand Fashion Museum website later this year.
For more information, see www.fashionmuseum.org.nz