How 200 Years Of Australian Fashion Showcases A Unique Voice In Design
It’s times like these that make you proud to be an Australian woman. From 1920’s Colonial Era to the now, it’s truly fascinating to see how Australian fashion has shifted and grown to what it is today. Breaking barriers by unveiling the first major survey of Australian fashion to date, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) have beautifully presented this journey as the 200 Years of Australian Fashion. Stepping through the curtains at the Ian Potter Centre and entering what seems like a time capsule, any viewer is presented with 120 works from over 90 designers. Think Akira, Richard Nylon, Ellery and Toni Maticevski – only some of the designers to show us the changing ideas of femininity in the gallery.
The rooms are enchanting with portraits and photographs of stunning models in 1960’s designs, such as the breathtaking Athol Shmith No Title (Fashion Illustration, Ann Chapman) in the delicate feathered-bottom ball gown. Step into grandeur of ‘The Salon’, a Parisian glamour era full of mid-century gowns. These were displayed on a stunning rotating mirrored gallery that made you feel almost bad to wear your everyday clothes while beholding such a sight.
The highlight of the exhibition is by far the exquisite Dion Lee piece, standing at over four meters tall and embedded in divine Swarovski crystals. The sculpture is to symbolize the future of Australian fashion and Lee’s innovative design.
Aside from that masterpiece, the exhibition also featured a cat-walk style show of garments that celebrated the vivacious era of the Fashion Design Council, which was established in 1983. Well-known designers such as Jenny Bannister, Sara Thorn and Kara Baker were present in the movement, which saw the rise of independent Australian fashion design.
Who could forget the vibrant colour and experimentation of the 1960’s featuring THOSE mini-skirts and a very special Jenny Kee, who produced those remarkable one-of-a-kind knitwear. We were pleasantly surprised to witness a special visit from Kee and fellow designer Linda Jackson in the flesh, who produced the Flamingo Park label in the ‘70’s.
Emily Neilson, fashion enthusiast and journalism graduate who was present at the opening of the event, said the highlight was meeting Jenny Kee.Walking in a bewilderment through the gallery in what truly seems like a time-capsule comparing the collection of outfits to Neilson’s fashionable outfit of the now, she said the ‘innovation of Australian fashion is evident once you progress to the end.’
Walking in a bewilderment through the gallery in what truly seems like a time-capsule comparing the collection of outfits to Neilson’s fashionable outfit of the now, she said the ‘innovation of Australian fashion is evident once you progress to the end.’
‘Through the exhibition, it shows we can change and take big chances…it’s truly a reflection of our history and growth,’ she said.
Come see the reflection of our history in the exhibitions themes and concepts – from colonial all the way to contemporary fashion. Get more in depth with our fashion history by meeting the designers and attending numerous workshops which will keep you in touch with the people and pieces that have made Australian fashion what it is today.
Fashion writer Marion Hume said, ‘At the heart of the fashion fairytale is the belief that its lead characters come from anywhere.’ That is what the 200 years of Australian Fashion wants to emulate…what it has been and can be.
That, it does!
The exhibition is on 5 March – 31 July 2016.
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