Wahine o te Pō

The sophisticated blend of fine traditional Māori weaving with contemporary design and style earned this little black dress the Traditionally Inspired Award and the Overall Runner Up Award at Style Pasifika in Auckland in 2007. The material used to weave this garment is called muka, the New Zealand version of linen. Muka is the supple glossy fibre that is revealed when flax is striped of its green outer. Traditionally paru (mud) was used to dye black, but its corrosive salts cause the fibre
 to rot over time. A deeper and more durable black is achieved with commercially available dyes. Kohai Grace has incorporated strands of lurex thread in the bodice to transform this into an appropriate dress for Wahine o te Pō, the woman of the night. Read more about wearing the colour black in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Black: The history of black in fashion, society and culture in New Zealand.


Credit: Garment loan courtesy of Kohai Grace
Designer: Kohai Grace
Maker: Kohai Grace
Material: Muka (New Zealand flax fibre), rit dye, lurex thread
Colour: Black
Date: 2007