Lindah Lepou's garments have always been astonishing, but it has taken years, she says, for people to understand what she is really on about: Pacific haute couture as art, from natural fibre, with reference to her own Samoan ancestry.
While she was painstakingly creating enough work to brand her an artist, she was obliged to be a dressmaker.
''I can't stand those brides,'' she says.
She remembers one Auckland client who dismissed a finished bridal gown because it made her hips look big. Lepou told her she needed a surgeon, not a dressmaker.