Ta’oko’tai gown

The traditional tivaevae receives a glamorous makeover in this floor length gown by Cook island designer Sheena Taivairanga for her graduate show at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in 2015. Taking six months to complete, the collaborative effort between Sheena and her mother, Tepora Tamariki, captures the communal aspect of this embroidery work. “I think the art form of tivaevae is a direct connection to where we come from as Cook Island people. A lot of these giant quilts reference vibrant, bold and colourful flora and fauna representing who we are and our home in the Pacific.”


Photographer: Samantha Cameron
Copyright: Image © Sheena Taivairanga
Designer: Sheena Taivairanga
Maker: Sheena Taivairanga with Tepora Tamariki
Manufacturing location: Auckland
Garment type: Evening gown
Material: Silk, silk satin, embroidery cotton, leather, polyester
Features: The gown combines the toughness of leather panels layered for the top half with a sweeping fish-tail silhouette that highlights a tivaevae floral motif.
Colour: Black
Exhibition: Moana Currents
Label: Sheenz
Date: 2015