24
Jul
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1920s, Calendar, Exhibitions 1 Comment

Recently I had the very great pleasure of viewing the new exhibition of costumes and props from the wonderful ABC TV series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”. If you have the chance, I recommend that you do so too. From the official website:

This brand new exhibition, set in the home of Aunt Prudence in the TV series, features never before seen series three costumes and props. See up close the outfits worn by Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) and her cohorts – including Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) and Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes). Walk through the different sets and touch and feel the sumptuous fabrics. Try on replica costumes and interact with props and furniture from the show as you step deeper into Phryne’s world. Solve a crime by looking out for clues from Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. As you go upstairs, become part of the crew and go behind the scenes to discover the inspiration for the costumes and understand how they were made. You will even get the chance to design your own dress.

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Here are the details:

 

What: Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition
When: daily until September 30, 2015. Open 10.30am – 4.30pm (Last admission is at 4pm)
Where: Rippon Lea House & Gardens, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick
Cost: Adult $20, Concession $18, Child $10. Family prices are also available and National Trust members receive discounts too.

More information: at the official site including some great events and an online shop including Phryne’s red lipstick! Once again, Marion Boyce, the ABC and the National Trust have treated us to an excellent event. Thank you!

 

 

Here are some more pics –

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8
May
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1700s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1990s, 2000s, Exhibitions 2 Comments

So, yes, holiday! Tim and I have just returned from five weeks in Europe where we visited many cultural sites in Italy, France and the UK.

A highlight of course was the opportunity to see some wonderful fashion exhibitions and I thought you might like to hear about them too – because even if you’re not able to visit them in person, they all have books and merchandise you can order online and they’ll send them to you. Ah, the wonders of the modern world. Plus there are many images online too, if you’d like to see more.

First up was the Deboutonner la mode at the Musée des Arts décoratifs at the Louvre in Paris. I must admit that I almost didn’t go to this one because buttons have never excited me as much as the clothes they adorn but here I was wrong: they’re fascinating!

The exhibition presented a thorough history of the wide variety of materials and types available, plus even better they included lots of authentic fashions where the buttons were an intrinsic part of the design. And not just any fashions – the Musée des Arts décoratifs houses the archive of Elsa Schiaparelli and a great deal of Parisian haute couture so the garments alone are worth the visit, even if you skip over the buttons – which would be a mistake because they’re divine.

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Early 20th century fashions on display at the Musée des Arts décoratifs.
Photo source.

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1920s two toned button boots.

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Art Nouveau buttons, circa 1900.

One of the lovely things about this exhibition is that the lighting was very low, the display perfection but they also allowed photography (sans flash naturally), which was great because it allowed me to post pics to Instagram as I went so many who can’t visit Paris could ooh and ahh over the lovely things.

It’s not often I get the luxury of seeing so many great exhibitions during such a short space of time and some did not allow photography – like the next one, the work of Jeanne Lanvin at the Pallais Galleria. How I itched to break their rules and take snaps of the incredible beadwork and embroideries!

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Thankfully there are images available online, and you can see some here. I was pleased to see that many of the more fragile gowns were displayed lying down in cases, with well placed mirrors so you could easily see all the detailing.

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The fashion’s sublime, it begged the question as to why Lanvin had not received a solo exhibition before – this is the oldest of Parisian couture houses and the styles are simply incredible. There was a whole room dedicated to the ground-breaking Robe de Style.

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Photo source.

Onto the UK and the first treat was a few days in beautiful Bath where we visited the Fashion Museum – they’re currently featuring an incredible display of Georgian fashion from the 18th century. Never before have I seen such beautiful preserved examples from this excessive period of fashion. Here are a couple of their “mantua” gowns, with wide panniers supporting the skirts. Before you get excited about the front gown, it’s a minature which was for promoting the latest styles, but the one behind was worn by a real woman. Unbelievable. No wonder the doorways were so wide during this period.

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The Bath museum also had a permanent display of fashion through the ages and my favourite, a behind the scenes look at what they do. I love this museum so much I checked their website to see if they had any jobs going.

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Dior…Fortuny… *happy sigh*

London had more treats in store: time to step up to the modern world and see the work of Alexander McQueen in “Savage Beauty” in my favourite museum, the Victoria and Albert. By this time I really was finding it hard to justify my continued residence in far flung Australia, when so many exciting things are happening in this part of the world.

Alas, we weren’t allowed to take photos but they can’t stand in for the whole experience any way. Go and see it if you can. Intense. Several themed rooms, I particularly thought the music was well chosen. Lots of people, great to see the crowds but it made it hard to see. Timed entry of course – go early if you can. You can always buy the book too.

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McQueen is a great loss to the world: this is fashion as high art.

Perhaps the opposite of art is functionality and here we went to the Imperial War Museum to see “Fashion on the Ration” – Make do and mend, how normal people adapted to the restrictions of WW2 and all that it meant.

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Again, no photos allowed, but it was an interesting exhibition with many examples of wartime fashion. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of the fashion (I love this era, and especially the resourcefulness that can result in hard times), but it was worth it for all the timelines about restrictions – I find dates really helpful in my work eg silk was unavailable for fashion in the UK after 1940, and there were no peep toe or sling back shoes until after restrictions were lifted in 1945. Maximum allowed heel height was two inches, etc.

Also – they had a big display on one of my favourite garments, the housecoat!

They did such a great job of presenting it all very positively, I almost wished for another big war to make us treat our wardrobes more seriously and get up with repairing and recycling. No disposable fast fashion here.

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Photo source.

Plus, the Imperial War Museum is incredible – free entry (hurrah!*) and very well resourced, it was like heaven for little – and big – boys. The fashion exhibition resulted in a very gender-separated space, which was interesting too. I also met a lovely lady with red ringlets and perfect ’40s pout. Mystery lady, how I wish I had taken a photo of you! You’re just who I wanted to see in the gift shop as I stocked up on my “make do and mend” books.

More pics from our trip can be seen on instagram. Hope you enjoyed my highlights!

* entry fee applies to “Fashion on the Ration”, as it does for all of these exhibitions.


29
Jan
2015
Posted by Nicole in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions, Style icon 1 Comment

There’s a charming exhibition of a local style icon and fashion designer, currently on display in Ballarat. Here are some details from the website:

Fashion director, clothing designer, retailer, philanthropist, world traveller and local style icon, Jessica Simon was a key figure in Ballarat’s fashion history. She played a managerial role in her family’s business, Stone’s Drapery Store (in operation 1860-1965), which was widely considered the place in Ballarat for fashion purchases, in particular wedding gowns. She hosted a fashion program on local television station BTV6, and designed many of the garments for sale in the store.

Jessica was also a great philanthropist, hosting a wide range of charitable events in the region, and was actively involved in the establishment of the Gold Museum.


What:
Stone’s style: Jessica Simon, a life in fashion
When: 26th November – 1st March, 2015, 9.30am to 6pm.
Where: Gold Museum Ballarat, Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street Ballarat
Cost: see list here.
More information at the Gold Museum site.

I’ve had a number of frocks bearing the Stone’s label, mostly from the ’40s and they’ve always been excellent quality with a lot of hand-finishing. It’s nice to have an opportunity to learn more about the label.

There was a nice article in the Ballarat Courier about the exhibition and here are some images to give you an idea of what to expect.

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27
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, Designers, Exhibitions 2 Comments

One wonderful day I went – twice – to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the new exhibition on the work of Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Incredible. Amazing. Beautiful. There is so much that I’d like to say, but it’s best if his work speaks for itself. This is truly fashion as high art, couture quality, impeccable eye for detail. So kind and generous for Monsieur and the NGV to share it all with us.

All I can really say is “go and see it”. See it more than once, and take your time to admire all the little touches, the array of different textures, colours, shapes, the unlimited creativity. The strong and the delicate. The mind that sees beauty in unexpected and delightful places.

My favourite part? I’d be lying if I didn’t confess it was the moment when the great man himself swept past with his entourage, paused a moment, swept back and leaned in to say almost conspiratorially “….you have beautiful hair!”

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11
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, Calendar, Exhibitions

Meanwhile, there’s something great on in Queensland too. From the official site:

‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’ explores the tremendous innovation of Japanese fashion designers from the early 1980s to the present. With nearly 100 garments featured in the exhibition, ranging from the classic and elegant to outrageous, this will be a fascinating experience and rare opportunity to view these unique creations first hand.

Japanese fashion made an enormous impact on world fashion in the late 20th century. Designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto revolutionised the way we think of fashion today.

Their works will be shown alongside examples by the techno-couturier Junya Watanabe, a protégé of Kawakubo, together with the pioneer of the ‘Ura-Harajuku’ movement Jun Takahashi, and the new generation of radical designers including Tao Kurihara, Hiroaki Ohya, Matohu, Akira Naka, Hatra and mintdesigns.

Curated by eminent Japanese fashion historian Akiko Fukai, Director of the esteemed Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, this exhibition explores the unique sensibility of Japanese design, and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing.

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What: Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
When: 1 November 2014 – 15 February 2015 (Closed 14–16 November and Christmas Day) 10am to 5.30pm daily
Where: Queensland Art Gallery, Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank, Brisbane
Cost: $16.50-21.50, see ticketing website for details
More information: at the QAG site.

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Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo), Autumn/Winter 2012, Photography: Masayuki Hayashi. I can see Fashion Hayley looking great in this fabulous frock.


11
Nov
2014
Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Designers, Exhibitions

I hope to get over to Adelaide to see this great new exhibition – lucky Adelaide! Here are some details from the website:

Over 90 emblematic haute couture garments created by the world’s leading fashion designers will be drawn from the most comprehensive collection of French fashion in the world, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and curated by the museum’s 20th and 21st Centuries Fashion and Textile Collection Chief Curator, Pamela Golbin.

‘The works selected for this exhibition perfectly illustrate the style of each of the mythical couturiers behind this history of luxury and sumptuousness. Spectacular designs by Cristobal Balenciaga, Gabrielle Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent follow one another in this chronological review, revealing the universality of fashion viewed as a history of art and beauty.’ Pamela Golbin

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Photo copyright the Art Gallery of South Australia

What: FASHION ICONS: MASTERPIECES FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS, PARIS
When: 25 October 2014 – 15 February 2015 from 10am to 5pm daily
Where: Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide.
Cost: $5-$25 see the site for information.
More information: see the Fashion Icons site.

There are some really great events too, including one this Saturday on collecting vintage fashion with the fabulous Margot Riley and Charlotte Smith – wish I could go but I’m otherwise booked. Lucky Adelaide! Oh, well, I can’t complain – we have Gaultier in Melbourne (pics to come, the exhibition is extraordinary, or should I say “extraordinaire!”)

If you can, I do recommend this exhibition as it looks wonderful, and offers a crash course in the most important fashion designs of the 20th century. I’m sure it has a wonderful catalogue too.

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Photo copyright the Art Gallery of South Australia


6
Oct
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, Calendar, Exhibitions

Another wonderful and exciting fashion exhibition is about to open and tonight I’m off to see a preview.

From the NGV’s site:
The unconventional and playfully irreverent designs of Jean Paul Gaultier will be celebrated in the first international exhibition dedicated to this groundbreaking French couturier.

The National Gallery of Victoria will be the only Australian venue for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which will feature more than 140 superbly crafted garments in addition to photographs, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from runway shows, film, television, concerts and dance performances.

This spectacular overview of Gaultier’s oeuvre features the first dress created by the designer in 1971 to his latest haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, costumes worn by Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé and haute couture dresses worn by Nicole Kidman.

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What: The Fashion World of JP Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
When: 17th October 2014 to 8th February 2015, 10pm to 5pm daily (closed Tuesdays)
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne
Cost: see the NGV site for ticketing information.
More information: see the NGV site.

Now here are some nice pics, borrowed from the NGV’s site – as if you need a reminder that Monsieur Gaultier is one of the most talented and creative designers we have. Can’t wait to grab the catalogue! Opens Friday next week.

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All photos courtesy National Gallery of Victoria.


5
Sep
2014
Posted by Nicole in Bridal, Calendar, Exhibitions 11 Comments

Please accept my apologies for neglecting to share some photos taken at the opening of this wonderful new National Trust exhibition. This exhibition opened a while ago, and closes at the end of this month but hopefully it’s not too late to go and see it now.

From the site:
The collection spans over 200 years of fashion, including pieces from the world-leading designers such as Valentino for Princess Marie Chantal of Greece. A mini retrospect of leading Australian designers – Akira Isogawa and Collette Dinnigan will showcase their fashion career.

Celebrity gowns include dresses designed for Jennifer Hawkins (Maticevski) and Kyly Clarke (Alex Perry) to film and television pieces worn by Kylie Minogue (as Charlene in Neighbours) to Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Meryl Streep.

What: Love, Desire, Riches – The Fashion of Weddings exhibition
When: 1st July until 30th September 2014, 10am to 4pm each day
Where:Rippon Lea, 192 Hotham St, Rippon Lea
Cost: between $4 -$15.
More information: at the website.

You can see me here at the opening with Tim and Alison Waters.

Tim, Alison, NJPhoto courtesy the National Trust.

More importantly, here are some pics from the exhibition itself. Firstly a few words.
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I’m always felt a little torn about wedding gown exhibitions: bridal fashions change much more slowly than other types of dress and often tend to the more conservative, especially before the ’90s. There was this idea about the virtuous woman, who was modest and reflected her social class, or the class she was marrying into. The results can be a little dull.

When you put older gowns up against their contemporaries, as is done here, there can be a bit of a clash – modern brides often like a sexier, more glamorous movie star, red carpet look.

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Here we also have several celebrity gowns and – a highlight for me – some choice film wedding costumes. There’s nothing like seeing something that you’ve only seen on screen for a few minutes in a long ago scene, up close where you can walk around it and look at that intriguing detail.

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It’s also a great opportunity to ooh and aah over how tiny the Victorian waistlines were. One in particular looks like you could put your hands around her waist. Much beauty too. Plus reminders that wedding gowns weren’t always white.

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One room is dedicated to the darker side of weddings with the banquet table set up for Miss Havisham’s cobwebbed feast and no fewer than three film costumes for the Dickens character. I appreciated the room: it gave light and shade to the fantasies elsewhere.

Upstairs is a room dedicated to the art of couture sewing, with an Akira bridal gown hand made from paper patterns, and vintage sewing tools like enormous scissors and antique mannequins. It’s a nice reminder of how much goes into creating the once-worn confections.

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I thought the setting particular apt, as weddings are personal and intimate affairs, celebrating the love of two people – Rippon Lea as both domestic and wedding venue resonated with the gowns more than a stark art gallery does. The older garments looked particularly at home amongst the sumptuous interiors.

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The men were not forgotten, with a room dedicated to manly attire appropriate for the occasion.

“Love, Desire, Riches” closes at the end of the month. I hope you can see it. If you’d like tickets, the National Trust have offered five double passes – to win one, please leave a comment about your favourite wedding gown – perhaps a famous one from history, cinema or even your own. Winners will be chosen at random and entries close Monday midnight. Good luck!

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29
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1900s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions

Sydney people should look out for a new exhibition on early 20th century fashions, opening soon. It presents a rare opportunity to see Australian Edwardian and ‘teens era fashions.

From fine lacy lawn tea gowns & elaborate beaded opulence to austere military & service garments, come and see an eclectic and beautiful display of fine Edwardian & War time Fashion, with a slice of Australian style.

This exhibition takes form as a collaboration between the National Trust Costume and Textiles Collection and the private collection of Glennis Murphy – Over the Top Vintage, along with items from other collections and collectors, including Australian Military Specialist Brad Manera, Cavalcade of History and Fashion, NSW Lancers Memorial Museum, The Kings School and family mementos from Old Government House Volunteers.

The exhibition runs as part of NSW History Week, marking the centenary of WW1. Circa Vintage has loaned an Edwardian lace up corset.

What: Clothing The People: Edwardian and Wartime Fashion Exhibition
When: 5th September – 6th October 2014, Open 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Where:Old Government House, Parramatta Park/Pitt St, Parramatta NSW 2150
For ticket prices and more info please see the official site.

Complementing the exhibition, there will be two specialist talks which will take place on 6 September. ‘Military Dress’ by Brad Manera and ‘Edwardian Ladies Fashion’ by Eleanor Keene, Curator. See the website for details.

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Photo credits: the National Trust NSW.


1
Aug
2014
Posted by Nicole in 1960s, Australian Fashion, Calendar, Exhibitions

A next exhibition of ’60s Australian fashion and photography opens next week in Brighton.

From the Artshub website:
Featuring key looks from throughout the decade, this exhibition traces the diversification of women’s fashion from the classic silhouette of the late 1950s to the wild ‘hippie’ styles of the early 1970s.

Bringing together a succinct selection of dresses, suits and gowns created by key Melbourne labels, Polyester & Pantyhose delineates popular silhouettes from the A-line Mod look to billowing maxi shapes. A suite of glamorous photographs by the celebrated Melbourne fashion photographer Bruno Benini will also be on display.

In addition to designs by Prue Acton, Tullo and Merivale, the exhibition will feature the 1963 Gown of the Year designed by Hartnell of Melbourne, and local model Coral Knowles’ wedding dress, commissioned by the Australian Wool Board in 1966.

I’ll also be presenting an afternoon tea talk on ’60s fashions to accompany the exhibition – the talk will be on Tuesday 9th September at 2pm. Bookings required – call 9592 0291 or email bacc@bayside.vic.gov.au. Seats and scones are limited.

What: Polyester and Pantyhose – Silhouettes of the ‘Sixties, fashion exhibition
When: 9 August – 28 September 2014, Open Wednesday to Friday 11am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm – 5pm.
Where: The Gallery, Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, Brighton Town Hall, cnr Carpenter and Wilson Streets, Brighton.
Cost: free entry.
For more information contact: Bayside City Council

Circa is lending some ’60s fashion and accessories to the exhibition too.

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