Designer's story told in words and wedding gowns

Visitors take in  Tanya Carlson's ''Not All White'' collection at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Visitors take in Tanya Carlson's ''Not All White'' collection at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.

A rare insight into couture dressmaking and the mind of a young Dunedin designer has heralded the start of iD Fashion Week, which is being launched tonight.

About 120 people attended the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Saturday when founding fashion week designer and committee member Tanya Carlson launched a display of her wedding dresses with an informal chat led by curator and dress historian Dr Jane Malthus.

They spoke about Ms Carlson's fine arts education, her foray into fashion and how she learnt invaluable skills from experienced machinists in her formative years in the industry.

The collection of 17 Carlson wedding dresses, titled ''Not all White'', is on show in the gallery as part of this year's fashion week.

All are on loan from the brides they were designed for over the past 15 years.

Those on display include the dresses of Kerre McIvor (nee Woodham), Sonia Gray, Alison Palmer (nee Shanks), Tamsin Cooper and Victoria Muir (nee Bunton).

Brides had to be comfortable and their dancing while in their dresses look effortless, she said.

''Sometimes you see wedding dresses that look really heavy and meringue-like. Brides have to wear the dress all day and usually want something lighter,'' she said.

The official launch of iD Fashion Week will be held tonight. Among other events, the 10th-anniversary iD International Emerging Designer Awards will be held on Thursday, and the 15th-anniversary iD Dunedin Fashion Show on Friday and Saturday.

-rosie.manins@odt.co.nz