Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: Why WOW is silly

I don't get it. I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who do, and they are absolutely right to love and adore it. Photo / Supplied
I don't get it. I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who do, and they are absolutely right to love and adore it. Photo / Supplied

It's perverse.

I know I will be loathed, vilified, torn to shreds and hissed at for this ... but I can't stop the tide of this feeling. If I don't spill it I'll pop with this build-up of anti-antsy-pantsy-arty-farty-fartiness. I can feel the bubbling pot of naughtiness building up inside ...

I think WOW is silly.

"Excuse me dear but did you know you're dressed as a giant mosaic trout?"

Remember that scene in Love Actually where Emma Thompson learns of her daughter's character in the school nativity play: "The lobster? I didn't realise there was a lobster in the nativity play."


There's this wee bit of a voice in the back of my mind - somewhere near the crack that's clearly there - that says: "It's all a bit of a craft project on steroids."

I live happily in Wellington. I like Wellington. Wellington is all about showing your understated style and not showing your overstated flash. Wearing black isn't Goth, it's expected. Hipsters are not creatures of amusement. They built this city on rock and roll (or whatever they play at Fidel's Cafe on Cuba Street).

We love people visiting but are quite happy when they take their bad driving and leave. It's not their fault. It takes all kinds of superhuman skills to drive in Wellington. So being a visitor and driving in Wellington is tricky and will make you look like a learner with severe anxiety issues.

Back to WOW.

I have a group of friends on my street. One is a high-fashion hair stylist. One is a fashion designer. One appears to be studying something I don't understand at Massey, and sells Avon. We are part of a secret club that gets together and rags on Wearable Arts. The loudest of the group - not me, surprisingly enough - will start a rant:

"Wearable arts: WTF is a 'wearable art'? You know what it is? It's craft. It's the world of people wearing incredibly clever works of craft. It's glorified papier mâché. What would Coco Chanel say for God's sake? "

I don't get it. I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who do, and they are absolutely right to love and adore it. There are people who've made a mission, a girls' trip, a romantic weekend, an event, out of booking and attending a show of the most splendiferous, fabulous walking ... "things". But if I can't wear it or hang it on the walls of my narrow inner city apartment then it's not for me.

I'm not saying it's not beloved and revered. I'm just saying (quite inappropriately) that it offends my sensibilities and, for completely irrational reasons, makes me grumpy.

I have no right to feel this way, let alone take on the sacrilege of saying it out loud (I'd like to refer to earlier mention of my brain crack).

"You're a snob!" my ex-husband would say. "What makes you so self-entitled that you can mock WOWsters?"

"I'm sorry," I'd say with head bent and fingers crossed behind my back. "I'm just wired wrong."

I have another friend who runs a boutique. She dreads WOW. She says women come in in posses. They look at the price tags and announce the price, roar and screech about how ugly the clothes are, then leave not buying a thing.

Who are these WOWsters terrorising my town? They do appear to hunt in packs, wear knee high boots (not really in fashion this season), wacky chunky necklaces and jaunty, brightly framed glasses. They arrive from somewhere where knee high boots are clearly on sale, and someone was doing a four-for-one deal on bob haircuts. I'm not sure how they got here and why they are terrorising funky Wellington boutique owners.

WOW. I'll never be able to go now, even if I suddenly develop a love for it and become
overwhelmed with the desire to see beautiful girls swanning down a catwalk dressed in quilts that look like trees and giant duck heads. I'd be thrown out. I'm persona non grata within a one kilometre radius of The Michael Fowler Centre.

In saying all of this, if you are going to WOW, perhaps because you love craft, you're a nice, normal person, or your wife has threatened you with divorce lest you take her, then may I say on behalf of my city (not officially, of course):

"Welcome to Wellington. I hope you have a lovely, jolly time. Oh and please use public transport unless you're a legitimate international rally driver."


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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for Life & Style.

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