Last week I went to a wonderful symposium on Fashion and Art at the NGV, and it reminded me that I’ve neglected to show you pics from their current exhibition, 200 Years of Australian Fashion. It’s on until the end of July.
This is the largest exhibition devoted to Australian fashion history, perhaps ever in the world and the scope is breathtaking. Through a series of rooms, the NGV team has set up a series of vignettes, each has its own distinct feel.
Whilst I loved (always love) seeing the gorgeous 19th century fashions, especially the black and white striped dinner dress from the collection of the National Trust that I love so much (a personal favourite), the 1950s salon holds some real treasures and is beautifully presented with a rotating display so you can see them from all angles.
The exhibition really comes into its strength when it hits the colourful and vibrant ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s – each has its own very different but energetic space. You can feel the tempo change.
Many of the designers were at the opening, and I was gleeful to see their excitement at seeing their work on display. So often creators have to die first before they get artistic recognition, so it’s a great honour for them all and I loved seeing them and their beautiful fashions.
Set out chronologically, the surprise of the exhibition was how much I enjoyed the last section – contemporary dress. I tend to find most modern fashion a bit dull and unchallenging so it was a relief to find that there are still true artists in this field, especially as the Australian fashion industry has suffered so much through the last two decades with (dare I say) an undiscerning public focused mostly on cheap and disposable clothes.
My favourites were the clothes by Dion Lee, who created an incredibly interesting sculptural jacket that looked amazing from every angle (I do like a good back view). Go and see the exhibition and see if you agree!