Long-time Wearable Arts designer Susan Holmes might be 70, but she's still brimming with ideas for a competition she loves.

The Auckland artist's latest World of Wearable Arts (WOW) creation, Firebird, is one of more than 100 designs being shipped to Hong Kong for the city's 40th Arts Festival opening on January 29.

The dazzling Firebird was inspired by birds of paradise Holmes saw in a documentary. The design was based on the movement of the feathers of the birds, she said.

"They were just beautiful birds, sitting on a branch and fluffing out their feathers."


Firebird, which took a month to make, is created from dyed, stretched nylon and sticks. The sticks gave the creation much needed volume on the large stages used by WOW, she said.

Holmes has been a regular on the WOW circuit since 1990, including stints as a judge, and was named overall champion in 1996 with her entry Dragon Fish.

Dozens of Kiwi performers and models are going to Hong Kong for the week-long arts festival.