Some Art from Starfish

Greatly applauded, particularly after his death, is the work of New Zealand artist Len Lye whose sculptures stir with energy and noise, dazzle with shimmer and sensuous movement, and humour with eccentric titles. It was Lye’s spirit and body of work which captivated Laurie Foon, designer and owner of Starfish at 128 Willis Street, Wellington, to pay him homage in her Summer 10/11 collection. The collection is titled Free Radicals and all the pieces carry the sorts of names which Lye would have smiled at : the ‘Honey I’m Home’ dress, the ‘Jumping Jacket’, the ‘Twitching Tee’, ‘Full Fathom Frock’, ‘Twister Pants’ and the ‘Can’t Stop Corset’.

Additional reference to Lye has been made by the use of coloured ribbons to decorate the shop as well as for the backgrounds in the lookbook. In this photo, the top is the ‘Boggle Blouse’ – a feather-light work of printed silk so sheer and fine, it’s like a pattern shown through a slide projector. Under it is the ‘Tip Top Tee’ of fine, comfortable merino knit. And the skirt is the ‘Fidget Skirt’, made from a linen-viscose mix with a hint of spandex to give it flexibility. It is an attractive charcoal colour, and its side panels have just the right amount of gathering to make the fabric ripple. The effect is like a receding tide playing with lines of beach sand – the sea practising its own signature perhaps – and we can gaze at it for minutes on end.