Mid-year antics are always fun and much welcomed. Our work for the Spark Awards last year was an absolute ball, with their incredible theming, high-calibre events managers and producers (Total Event, Delight Events & more) and fab choice of space in SkyCity. There’s nothing more suave than a casino/Vegas/gatsby vibes, which is the theme we worked to and had a lot of fun – especially in the costuming department.
First off, we pitched some 1920’s style lamp ladies holding globes. We had aged bronze body painted ladies by our long-term collaborators at BodyFX (who always ACE everything they do). As the Spark Awards attendees entered the space, our ladies emulated the languid 20’s body language in various slinky tableaux – at first fooling everyone that they were just incredible and giant lamps. Alongside these elegant dames, we had flapper dancers and Vegas showgals shaking their tail feathers to welcome on NZ’s iconic singer Anika Moa & TV/radio presenter Stacey Morrison. Choreographed by ex-Live Events manager Lara Liew, who had a whole lot of fun figuring out the best way of flicking Ostrich fans and creating slick formations with our dancers: Lucy Lynch (NZDC), Maria Munkowitz (InFlagrante), Amanda McFarlane (InFlagrante), Aeyla Duncan (Pleasure Dome), Emmanuel Reynaud (Strasbourg 1518), Adrian Smith (The Luminaries).
On the management side, I had a LOT of fun sourcing costumes. The lamp ladies were easily taken care of with Body FX, but finding the flapper costumes & vegas show girls was a lot of internet searching, asking advice from NZ companies, and furiously calling courier companies to see where our shipments were at. The Vegas showgirl costumes in particular had Lara and I on the edge of our seats. We found the perfect costumes from Louisiana after hours of internet searching, but needed to have them ready, shipped, and cleared in just over 1 week, which we thought would be okay if we paid extra for shipping… but the universe had other plans.
Firstly, we ordered the costumes on a Wednesday. They were good-to-go and the creator of the costumes was extremely helpful and friendly in dealing with us. Then it went haywire. Once we’d paid the amount, the company we bought it through needed 24 hours to clear the amount because it was over their standard rate (as a protective measure for online orders). 24 hours turned in 36 hours which then turned into 48 hours. A weekend. Panic. Then, once the amount cleared, the costume-maker tried to get the items shipped on the urgent courier we’d paid for, but nowhere in her town actually offered that service on the weekend. So she ended up driving 3 hours from her hometown to go to a company which would ship it. I will never forget watching refreshing the browser again and again to see where the item was. It got to NZ within 3 days which was a Tuesday (hallelujah!), so by my calculations the costumes would arrive on Wednesday and we’d have 2 days to readjust anything for the dancers. But nope. Customs held the costumes in their department. I called them numerous times to see where they were. After 24 hours I was told I had to sign release forms, which would need to be checked off by an official. I made sure to sign them asap, and tried to communicate the urgency of that. But the official had gone home, and was sick the following day. At this point, Lara and I had panic-bought plan B for costumes, which wouldn’t be at all ideal, but we felt we had no other choice. The customs form got cleared on Thursday, and was meant to be out for delivery Thursday evening. No such luck. Friday morning came, and the items were still ‘processing’ in the courier HQ. I called them to see if I could go and personally pick them up, which luckily they said I could. I zoomed to the HQ, waited for a good 15 minutes while they searched for the box. Heck. Turned out the box had gone out for delivery that morning, and that info got missed when I’d called earlier that morning. The person serving me said they’d be with us by Monday, so I told her all about the ordeal of the week, and she called the courier who happened to be just pulling up to our office.
So, in the nick of time, we got unaltered costumes, full of feathery goodness, and a HUGE sigh of relief from both Lara & I. Come pre-show time, I was still sewing the dancers into costumes, and making adjustments here and there to make them look spic and span. Many valuable lessons were learned, and though it was stressful at the time, I definitely secretly enjoyed the thrill, and hugely value the help we received from various NZ companies to arrange this all in time.
The final event outcome was incredible – the dancers looked fantastic, the audience loved the lamp ladies, flapper dancers, and Vegas gals. All-in-all a big success, and the frantic efforts in the latter part of the week made the post-show wine very much worth it.