New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders' Supernova won the WOW Award from a field of 133 garments at tonight's international World of Wearable Art Awards Show in Wellington.
Supernova also won the Avant Garde Section, seeing Ms Saunders take home two of the 20 top awards won this year by international designers from the UK, USA, China and New Zealand.
New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders' Supernova won the WOW Award
Supernova is Ms Saunders' 16th garment entered to the WOW competition since 2000 and her ninth award.
WOW attracts entries every year from designers from over 40 countries, and showcases the finalists in what has become New Zealand's largest single theatrical show.
The show employs more than 350 cast and crew and plays to an audience of 58,000 over its three-week season finishing on October 9.
English-born Ms Saunder's background is in furnishing and textile design. She has been involved with theatre and television for most of her working life, first in the UK, where she trained in Yorkshire, and then in Christchurch where she worked as a props maker for the Court Theatre.
"I had been making stage props for theatre and TV for years. WOW was the perfect challenge - could I make props for the body as well?" she said.
For Supernova Ms Saunders says she was inspired by a famous dress, a sea monster fin and images from space.
"I was inspired by the texture and colours of Thierry Mugler's Chimera dress and the iridescent spiny fins of the Hippocampus from the Percy Jackson movie The Sea of Monsters and some incredible N.A.S.A images taken by the Hubble telescope," she said.
"Once all these elements were combined Supernova was brought to life. The large gems represent new stars being born and the dark shadows represent deep space."
Each scale has been individually cut, shaded with marker pens and then hand sewn onto the garment, while each gem has had its sticky backing removed and then glued on by hand, Ms Saunders said.