A Word from Louise van der Voort, Central Otago District Council acting chief executive

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An insight into an unlikely fashionista

When the Central Otago District Council purchased a fashion collection in 2013, many people questioned why a council would spend ratepayers’ money on “a bunch of frocks”.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the presentation on Eden Hore Central Otago at the Orchard Garden in Alexandra.

The event provided a glimpse of the true value of the collection through the unique story of a sheep farmer from Naseby and his love of fashion.

In the 1970s, Eden Hore amassed an extraordinary collection of high and exotic fashion.

The garments, which had been modelled in the Miss NZ Show and events such as the Benson and Hedges fashion awards, were housed in a makeshift museum in the tractor shed on his farm.

Eden would invite people to the farm where he would host fashion parades from his collection in the garden, complete with a 21-jet fountain.

The council quickly recognised the value of the collection beyond the garments themselves, and following purchase set about forming a steering committee tasked with telling the story and developing a product with longevity that would benefit Central Otago.

The members of the steering group are all highly talented leaders in their fields of fashion, textiles, museum curation and PR.

Mayor Tim Cadogan interviewed the members of the steering group individually and they shared their experiences of the Eden Hore Central Otago project.

They acknowledged the quirky and interesting story behind the man, and the word on everyone lips was

Why did a high country farmer own an extensive fashion collection?

Eden certainly had a sense of occasion and an eye for great design. He was described as an impresario, a man daring to be different and following his passion.

At the event, we were also treated to a viewing of the photo shoot.

Celebrated photographer Derek Henderson and stylist/editor Megha Kapoor photographed a selection of the garments in the vast Central Otago landscapes of Mt Buster, the Blue Lake at St Bathans, the Poolburn Dam and the Bannockburn Sluicings.

The images celebrate the garments in a contemporary fashion style.

It is an intriguing story which is starting to unfold; a story which is probably of equal interest to the garments themselves.

And should you ask, why has it taken so long . . . ?

In the words of one of the steering group “It’s because good things take time”.

For more on this fascinating story, take a look at the website www.edenhore.com