Real Life

Weekly people: ‘I’m a dedicated follower of fashion!’

Dianne Ludwig indulges her passion, showcasing the fabric of Kiwis’ everyday lives.
Dianne Ludwig

“I’m a 51-year-old business consultant who is passionate about fashion. I’ve been married for 11 years and have three adult stepchildren.

Today I do volunteer work for the New Zealand Fashion Museum based in Auckland and I’m co-curating the museum’s next exhibition that will examine 100 years of New Zealand beach culture told through fashion.

I left my job as a partner at an accountancy and consultancy firm in 2007, planning to retire, but then got involved with the Fashion Museum in 2010.

It’s the brainchild of fashion designer Doris de Pont. Having a fashion museum in New Zealand was, I thought, a great idea and I wanted to put my energy into helping it happen.

I am an adviser to the fashion industry, so I have contacts and a good knowledge of it. I was keen to explore and understand more of our fashion history.

Dianne is curating a beach fashion show, which will display pieces from the turn of the century to the year 2000.

I loved the vision that the museum could tell a story – not just about the industry in New Zealand but also about the lives of our people through clothes, because they are a barometer of what’s happening in society.

The museum has no fixed abode – we don’t own a space. We have ‘pop up’ exhibitions, showing collections at galleries and other venues.

Museums are very expensive beasts – they have buildings and large collections and take a lot of money to run. The only way we can make our museum work financially is to bring fashion exhibitions to the people around New Zealand.

We are not constrained by having to hold and preserve collections, because the museum draws from existing collections to pull showings together, making our fashion history accessible.

Our first exhibition showcased more than 50 vintage garments by New Zealand fashion industry stalwart Gus Fisher and his iconic label El Jay.

Since that popular exhibition, we have had four other shows that have toured the country – including one that showcased the colour black in New Zealand fashion and another called Home Sewn.

I’m excited to be curating our new show of beach fashion in New Zealand. We’re currently looking for exhibition pieces showing pieces from the turn of the century to the year 2000.

The beach holds a special place in our hearts – that’s the story we want to bring out.

We’re hoping the summer holiday period will be the perfect time to get people sifting through their beach wardrobes for garments and objects that fit our brief and that we could include.

Initial conversations have already led to some interesting discoveries, including a 1960s Colin Cole bathing costume, a 1950s beach towel and a collection of 1980s men’s beach shirts.

Dianne is excited to be curating a new show on beach fashion in New Zealand.

We are on the lookout for menswear as well as womenswear. We don’t want to focus solely on swimsuits – we also want to include items such as Jandals, umbrellas and beachwear generally.

I enjoy helping preserve our history for others to appreciate. Our exhibitions are always very popular and everyone loves seeing the stories come to life.

This role helps me to fulfil my love for fashion.

I also love to travel the world and hit the op shops with my 90-year-old mother! It’s a great way for me to spend time with her doing something we both enjoy.”

If you have any summer gear that could be included in the exhibition, email Dianne at [email protected] or call her on 029 300 5783.

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