Best dressed Art Deco beaus and belles wow crowd

By Victoria White

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BEST DRESSED: The winners in their Art Deco finery, Hannah, Luke and Spencer Tysoe, left, Shaun Higgins, Colin Barnes, Chrissy Keepence, and Hannah Paterson. PHOTO/ Victoria White
BEST DRESSED: The winners in their Art Deco finery, Hannah, Luke and Spencer Tysoe, left, Shaun Higgins, Colin Barnes, Chrissy Keepence, and Hannah Paterson. PHOTO/ Victoria White

As war birds soared overhead and vintage cars cruised down Marine Parade, men, women, and children took to the stage to model their Art Deco best for the Costumes and Coiffure and Bathing Belles competition.

Hosted by MC's Nerida and Shane Cortese, contestants put their best foot forward this afternoon as they strolled around the sound shell, and took a turn on the catwalk so the large crowd could see every detail of their outfits.

Judges Inger Sheil, Matthew Bonnett, and sponsor Glory Days Magazine's own Rose Jackson picked the best dressed in categories ranging from best dressed child, best dressed group, to best original Art Deco costume.

Egged on by Mrs Cortese, the audience "helped" the judges choose the best dressed, with roaring cheers for their favourites.

From more than 20 contestants, Queenslander Chrissy Keepence won best dressed lady.

Ms Keepence's winning Heddy-Lamarr-inspired costume was created by her mother in law, as a surprise for when Ms Keepence finished her cancer treatment.

"[The festival's] been on my bucket list, when I got sick I thought I just have to do it.

"I nearly didn't enter the competition but my friends convinced me."

The headmistress of The Lindy Charm School for Girls was wowed by her first Art Deco festival, saying: "The city totally embraces its history, and its architecture, and its' proud of it. It's taken a lead which other towns should follow."

Despite the heat the crowd grew with not a single empty spot on the grass, and spectators peering over the balustrades from Marine Parade to watch the competition.

Father and son Shaun and Peter Higgins, from Palmerston North and Wellington, were both finalists in their respective categories.

In a vintage bathing suit complete with bathing cap and pipe, Shaun was victorious in the Bathing Beau's competition.

While son Peter didn't win the best dressed gentleman category, he was excited to have been a finalist in his first year entering the competition.

"I like to dress up and be part of it, and my costumes seem to get better and better every year", he said.

In Glory Days' first year as major sponsor, chief organiser Rose Jackson said: "I love how such a large number of people make an effort, whether or not they're part of the competition."

"We want to make this the premier Art Deco costume competition in the world, and really raise the bar."

Those behind the vintage lifestyle magazine added a catwalk to ensure the crowd were able to see every detail of the outfits.

Another addition to the competition was a new category- the people's choice award.

A photo of winning couple Leanne and James received 61 more likes on the Glory Days facebook page than the nearest contender.

The locals, who participate in Art Deco every year, said it felt very good to win.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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