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Published: 21 October 2022

By Andy Ross

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Letty Reid revisited

Letty Reid, the maker of The Obsolete Dress, was proving to be elusive until an eagle-eyed sleuth, follower of the blog sent in a link...

It is one of the foibles of the internet, probably an intentional one, that search results for each one of us turn up something different. Searches for Letty Reid did not bring much joy on my browser but an email in response to the request last week has helped to fill-in some gaps about the artist. Apparently, at least in 1993, Letty lived in the township of Hokitika and was an early member of what is now WOW, World of Wearable Art. In the cover article about WOW from Craft New Zealand in Autumn 1993, Letty Reid and Lilian Mutsaers were noted down as the Winners of the South Pacific Section and ultimately Supreme Winners for their creation "The Paua and the Glory". (Paaua is the Maori name for abalone, the edible sea snails with the irridescent shells.) Even better, there is a photograph and a close-up of the costume on this page.

Further research found that Letty is known as Letty MacPhedran and won the inaugural Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award in 2003 with Yoi Yasa. That year the theme was "Re-interpreting the Kimono" and here is an article about not only Letty's winning entry but also Susan Holmes' beautiful "Blue Lagoon", the Highly Commended entry. There is also an intriguing reference to Letty making masks for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company's production of "Romeo and Juliet". More research is needed. 

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