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The avant-garde looks that walk the runway at New York Fashion Week seem tame compared to the head-to-toe creations on display during the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt awards show, held every spring in Wellington, New Zealand.

Described on its website as “Mardi Gras meets haute couture at a Peter Gabriel concert directed by Salvador Dali”, the World of WearableArt takes pride in pushing fashion to its limits by displaying strange materials and construction techniques during its show, this year held 27 September to 7 October.

To be considered for the show, designers from all over the world submit photos of their over-the-top garments in advance. Each of the qualifying outfits competes for the grand prize (10,000 New Zealand dollars and a 10,000 dollar travel voucher), and is judged within one of seven themes. This year’s categories include garments that glow under UV light, clothes that make some kind of sound or music, and clothes that transform from one thing to another (a past entry was a frog costume that turned into a princess).

A bizarre bra theme gives designers the chance to put a twist on the standard undergarment. This year’s winner, announced over the weekend, used two taxidermied hedgehogs as cups

Each item is judged on originality, creativity, innovation and quality of construction.

Those who miss the show can see a permanent exhibition featuring previous entrants (including clothes made from coins, books and car parts) at the World of WearableArt and Classic Car Museum in the nearby town of Nelson.

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