Papatūānuku green silk handprinted kaftan gown
This dress was found by Nathalie Gregory while passing through Taupō on a fleeting trip to one of the local opportunity shops, not knowing anything about the label but recognising the beautifully handprinted nature of the silk habotai fabric as something special.
The label, Ethnic Arts International was owned by Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan, NZ's first woman MP. Fanny Buss made many dresses for Whetu, and she also printed fabric for Whetu's studio creations.
There are family images of Whetu wearing a version of this dress in this colourway, with her husband, while pregnant in 1973.
This dress is similar to other Fanny Buss creations, constructed of scarf shaped pieces of silk draped on the bias to create a light, voluminous garment with beautiful drape and movement. The placement of the directional koru designs also enhance the scarf nature of this dress.