The country’s most successful designer will show her Pacific Runway collection at the new Ministry of Cultural Development runway show next week.
And don’t be fooled: those are not Spanish flamenco-inspired red flounces, or Southern belle-inspired frocks – these are Pacific motifs being taken to the world.
Last night, Tavioni explained how she and her team use hand block-printing for the fabric for their gowns, carving flowers or traditional or contemporary motifs on wooden blocks.
And the frills? They’re not Spanish. “We already had ruffles in the Cook Islands – they were introduced by the Victorian missionaries in the 1800s.”
Tavioni, who has recently shown her designs in Tahiti and Sydney, said even for an established designer these shows were important in getting social media cut-through. But for her, next week’s show is most of all about supporting new talent.
And she had a tough message, too: “Some people think fashion is easy, when it’s not. If you’re serious, you need to study, you need the techniques, you need to get qualifications.”
The show is the work of Ministry policy analyst Kate Ngatokorua, who believes the event will give an opportunity for artists to present their creative work on stage, and will nurture design creativity.
The name Te Ata o Avaiki translates, the shadows of Avaiki - what we do today, is a shadow of what our ancestors did in the past.
Ngatokorua said it would showcase the talents of Cook Islands people. “We should be proud of our heritage and create images that we were born with and that are in our blood,” she explained. “We use the tools from our Pa Metua every day cultural and creatively. We must keep our culture alive, if not for our ancestors but for our children.”
Te Ata o Avaiki has three categories: Mei Ito Mai is mu’umu’u inspired, Te Toianga is creativity inspired by the designer and Te Toa is for Cook Islands Established Designers.
Mei Ito Mai and Te Toianga are judged categories. All creations must be made by the persons or person who entered the creation and all designers must be Cook Islands descent.
Te Ata o Avaiki is a platform for keen budding Cook Island designers enthusiastic about creativity in clothing design.
The event will also bring together established designers to showcase their brands on the night.
This is the first time the Ministry will present an event based on creativity in clothing design, and the organisers hope it will continue as an annual event.
Te Ata o Avaiki will take place on Thursday November 28 at the Edgewater Resort and Spa.