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March 2022

Eden Hore: High Fashion/ High Country [Tue, 1 March 2022]

  • Eden Hore: High Fashion/ High Country -

 “Ahead of his time and captivated by all things exotic, Central Otago high country farmer Eden Hore amassed a collection of avant-garde high fashion garments during the 1970s.  This exhibition brings together his most glamorous gowns, with new imagery shot by photographer Derek Henderson” [The Dowse, 2021].

On a recent trip to Wellington, visiting the exhibition was a priority and it delivered a rewarding experience. It was pleasing to see many other patrons enjoying the experience of this high country fashion story as well – learning about the story of Eden Hore and his place in Central Otago to the rest of New Zealand.

The collection was described as “something of a fabric-o-holic’s dream”, dating from a time when New Zealand’s designers had access to numerous fabric suppliers, where they could pore over a kaleidoscope of textures and colours. They could choose from delicate and intricate laces, embroidered fabrics, lurex knits, rich printed velvets, metallic threads and glimmering sequins. These days are no longer with us to the same extent – although happily, slow fashion is starting to make a statement in our world of ‘fast-everything’.

It was a wonderfully nostalgic moment to see garments from the studio of the great Vinka Lucas. In past times, her workshop was in the same building as our pharmacy in Auckland’s Queen Street. Vinka was a formidable character with her immaculate presentation, European flair and straightforward no-nonsense personality. She knew exactly what she wanted and how her beautiful garments on show at The Dowse represented her philosophy of producing perfection every time. Vinka shopped with us almost daily, for Dylon cold water dyes. She hand dyed many of the accessories – shoes, handbags, feathers, hairpieces – which complemented her garments.

But how to present 25 glamorous gowns, and a collection of world class photographs, alongside the Eden Hore story? Well, the experts have triumphed here. Such a simple, classic, big-sky neutral environment has been created – soft cloud-like formations (or are they fleeces?) provide the canvas for displaying the garments; dappled light through leaves plays on the walls. And growing out of the ground to support, protect and tower above the exhibits are cylinders of different heights – are they fence posts?

We lived in Naseby for ten years and took many of our guests and visitors up to Glenshee Station to view the Eden Hore Collection – including one of the models who remembered some of the garments well. What a privilege it was to view the one-off offerings from Alexandra’s Pat Hewitt and Eleanor Joel and to recognise these garments as works of art in their very own gallery space. 

Jan Bean