Eden Hore has left New Zealand an extraordinary legacy, one that captures the imagination of almost everyone that comes into contact with it.
More than garments, Eden Hore is a compelling story – of the impresario that so loved both the timelessness and majesty of the region, as much as the flamboyance and vibrancy of the fashion he loved.
While his lavish fashion collection of over 270 items is perhaps the most intriguing paradox of Eden Hore’s remarkable life, it certainly didn’t exist in isolation. Based at his Naseby high country station, Glenshee, Eden Hore was a true impresario. Interwoven with the Central Otago region he loved, his many endeavours tell us he was a man transfixed by imagining ‘what if?’ – and then making it happen!.
Among other things he:
- Established a grand formal garden, planting hundreds of rose and rhododendron bushes around a large illuminated fountain
- Staged regular fashion shows in his garden – as fundraisers for local charities
- Imported and bred live bison, yaks and miniature horses (only just stopping short of adding a lion and tiger – above the snowline!)
- Toured around regional centres with the Miss New Zealand contestants - for a month or more
- Mentored the singer John Hore Grenell (with his Naseby friend, the entertainment impresario Joe Brown), taking him to the Grand Ol Opree in Nashville
- Flew entertainers like Howard Morrison and Eddie Lowe to his high-country airstrip to put on concerts
- Collected cars, stuffed animals and decorative decanters
- Purchased a 16mm projector when the Naseby cinema closed, so that on Saturday nights many locals were at Glenshee enjoying Eden’s favourite comedies.
Eden was certainly an enigma to many. He would go into Dunedin in his white farm overalls to buy a latest model car one day, and the next be dressed up (and often accompanied by a young woman or two wearing dresses from his collection) at high-brow events at the Town Hall. He travelled internationally extensively, making friends with exotic animal traders and joining bus-tours in dozens of countries. While we know his life and peccadillos were at times seen by his neighbours and family as eccentric, he also often showed a generous spirit towards his community. And he was a loner at times, preferring to ‘get stuck’ in to the farming and ignoring everything else.
In the end, was Eden Hore at heart a down-to-earth man who lived with his head in the clouds? Certainly, his trailblazing collection represents a unique slice of New Zealand couture fashion, which cannot be found anywhere else in the country. And New Zealand creatives at their very best, in full flight.
A larger-than-life character, he was another colourful contributor to the Central Otago Fashion story. And today, the Eden Hore Central Otago project is captured the imaginations of new generations of New Zealand creative communities.