Organisers of Napier Art Deco Festival's Vintage Car Parade say they're "disappointed" a woman chose to wear a risqué body painted costume through the streets in front of thousands of people.

Alesha Hunt, better known as Cherry Boomb, took to the streets of Napier dressed as the Spirit of Napier statue during the Vintage Car Parade.

The 32-year-old burlesque performer said she knew she would get a mixed reaction to her painted-on outfit, but her intentions just wanted to bring some fun and glitter to the day.

"Looking at the comments on some pictures, it is getting a lot of love and a lot of hate. But any publicity is good publicity," she said.

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"I got body painted, just the top half of me, two years ago with a lovely art deco piece and thought what I could do to take it to the next level.

Hunt added: "I have always been a big fan of the Spirit of Napier statue and thought why not represent it. Why not push the boundaries and just have fun with it?"

Hunt said she wanted to
Hunt said she wanted to "represent" the Spirit of Napier statue at Saturday's parade. Photo / Warren Buckland

A regular performer at Paisley Stage, Napier, Hunt said she received a few "chilly responses" to the outfit.

"I totally understand that what I did totally pushed the boundaries and is not for everyone," she said.

"Not everyone is going to agree with what I'm doing, but I didn't do it for other people – I did it for myself.

"But I love the fact the older generation got the concept, applauded me and asked for photos."

Hunt added: "Nobody was too provocative or anything like that, which I definitely didn't want. It is art, it is not meant to be sexualised."

The Art Deco Trust said Cherry Boomb's appearance at Napier's Art Deco Festival was not officially sanctioned. Photo / Vhoycreative
The Art Deco Trust said Cherry Boomb's appearance at Napier's Art Deco Festival was not officially sanctioned. Photo / Vhoycreative

Art Deco Trust fundraising and communications manager Steph Kennard said Cherry Boomb's appearance at Napier's Art Deco Festival was not an official one.

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"Her limited presence in the Vintage Car Parade was not officially sanctioned," Kennard said.

"The trust is disappointed anything would detract from the enjoyment of the Parade as a family-friendly event."

Her costume, or lack of, also caused a stir on social media, with one Facebook user describing it as "disgraceful".

Another Facebook user said: "Seriously, how is that expectable? Wouldn't have my kids around that that's for sure."

Another added: "All about her making a disgraceful spectacle of herself at what is a usually great family event. Certainly not what the spirit of Napier is about."

With rain arriving later in the day, the former Miss Burlesque New Zealand 2015 was grateful for Saturday's cooler weather, as her custom-made, glue-on latex covers were not in danger of revealing all.

"Thankfully we missed the rain and it wasn't too hot," she said. "Although the glue is amazing, you don't want any mishaps happening.

"When I do my burlesque performances, I almost wear less than that though. I am comfortable with myself to walk the streets of Napier half-naked. And if I added a couple of strings, I'd basically be wearing a bikini."

The Meerlo Creations body paint creation was all to "try and bring fun and glitter to Hawke's Bay", according to Hunt.