Posted by Nicole in 1800s, Calendar, Exhibitions 6 Comments

An exciting new exhibition opens at the National Trust next week:

If today’s technology had been introduced in the 19th century, what would the world look like? The Antipodean Steampunk Show attempts to answer this question in a fascinating mash-up of past, future, and fantasy.

Born in literature in the 1980s as a response to the sci-fi ‘Cyberpunk’ genre, the visual richness of Steampunk work soon transcended the page. Its influence can be found in film and fashion, as well as in the workshops of scores of hobbyist tinkerers and professional artists alike. The dynamic works to be exhibited include jewellery, shoes, time machines, ray guns, photography and music players, all modified to reflect 19th century aesthetics.

The artists come from a range of cross-discipline backgrounds including engineer-sculptors, artist-scientists, shoe-makers, jeweller-taxidermists, writers, performers, photographers, film-makers, tinkerers, designers and hobbyists.

In addition to contemporary works, the exhibition will include examples of historical machinery, books and films that inspired Steampunk, including nautical, aeronautical, musical and navigational equipment, sourced from the National Trust Collection.

What: The Antipodean Steampunk Show
When: Monday 30 June until Friday 8 August 2014, 10am to 4pm each day
Where: National Trust Victorian headquarters, Tasma Terrace, 6 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
Cost: $10.00 Adult, $ 7.50 Concession, $ 5.00 Child or National Trust member
More information click here
There’s also an interesting programme to accompany the exhibition.

Here’s one of Kate O’Brien’s artworks – this image isn’t in the exhibition but there are other ones.

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Here are some images of the costumes in the exhibition. Photos reproduced courtesy the National Trust (Victoria).
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Posted by Nicole in Calendar, Exhibitions 1 Comment

The NGV has an interesting exhibition coming up next month – a subject close to my heart, investigating historical fashion through the clues they contain. From their website:

Fashion Detective takes a selection of miscellaneous garments and accessories as the starting point for a series of investigations. Using material evidence and commissioned fictions as alternate interpretative strategies, the exhibition is an encounter with the art of detection.

From fakes and forgeries to poisonous dyes, concealed clues and mysterious marks to missing persons, Fashion Detective offers a number of cases for close examination. Each suggests a specific path of analysis that encourages us to think differently about what we see and what we know.

Scrutinising fragments of information, Fashion Detective also puts some of Australia’s best crime writers on the case. Speculating on the evidence at hand, a series of new short fictions based around the works on display will introduce plots, characters and narrative to the exhibition in order to reveal fashion’s countless contexts.

Featuring approximately 60 garments and accessories Fashion Detective juxtaposes the testimony of curators, conservators and writers, and acknowledges the interdependence of story and object as well as the public fascination with the social life of clothes.

What: Fashion Detective exhibition
When: 9th May to 31st August. 10am to 5pm every day – closed Tuesdays.
Where: Where: National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road Melbourne.
Cost: free
More information See the official site.

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If you haven’t yet seen the fabulous NGV exhibition on Deco fashion and Edward Steichen photographs, allow me to offer you an additional enticement – I’m presenting a talk on Deco fashion at the NGV:

Join us for an afternoon in the exhibition as we take a closer look at fashionable aspects of the ’20s and ’30s, including hats, shoes and jewellery. Hosted by Paola di Trocchio, exhibition co-curator and Assistant Curator, International Fashion & Textiles.

Speakers include Theo Hasset, bespoke shoemaker; Richard Nylon, Milliner; Nicole Jenkins, fashion historian, retailer & author; Anne Schofield, jewellery specialist and collector.

What: Art Deco Fashion Afternoon: Vintage Glamour
When: Saturday 22nd Feb (2pm – 4pm)
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road Melbourne.
Cost: free, but entry costs apply to the exhibition and you’ll need a ticket to get in.

Here is a pic I took of some glorious ’20s coats: more Deco fashion loveliness can be found here. Hope to see you there.

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Photo copyright Nicole Jenkins


So last night Tim and I went to the opening of the new fashion and photography exhibition at the NGV. Here are some pics – I wish I’d taken some of the fabulously dressed people though! You should have seen Richard Nylon in his two toned lace up stiletto boots or Fashion Hayley in her bold black and white striped dress: but the social photographers will hopefully make up for it. We’re so lucky in Melbourne to have so many brilliant creative dressers. In the meantime, here are some frocks and coats.

If these don’t convince you to see it post haste, you just don’t appreciate fine fashions sufficiently. It’s on until March 2nd.

Also, don’t forget my talk at the NGV tomorrow on Deco fashions – it’s free and also speaking are William A Ewing on the history of fashion photography and Todd Brandow on photography.

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This Friday the new exhibition of Edward Steichen photography and Art Deco fashion opens at the NGV – the following day they’re running a number of fun programmes includinga film, tour, charleston lessons and a panel discussion about the exhibition and I’m on the panel!

From the NGV’s site:
Join us as we explore the innovative and glamorous fashion photography of Edward Steichen, as well as art deco fashion from the 1920s and 1930s.

Keynote: William A Ewing, independent curator, formerly director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, and specialist in the history of fashion photography; Todd Brandow, Executive Director, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography and exhibition co-curator; and Nicole Jenkins, fashion historian, retailer & author of Love Vintage: A Passion for Collecting Fashion (2009) .

What: Forum: Edward Steichen – the image maker
When: Saturday October 19th 2-4pm
Where: Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, NGV International, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Cost: free, although an admission cost applies to the exhibition.

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Recently I watched a James Bond marathon with back to back movies, starting with the first one “Dr No” and it revealed a lot about the appeal of the British secret agent.

Unfortunately I gave up once we got to the ’80s films but I’d already decided that they worked best as futuristic style porn – a fantasy world of riches and talent. I particularly enjoyed the architecture, interiors and of course – the wonderful costumes.

James Bond parties are not unheard of, and if you’re going to one I recommend for the ladies to go for a sexy but classy look: glamourous and revealing but still elegant. Emphasise one part of your body and remember that a little mystery goes a long way.

Soon the Melbourne Museum is hosting an exhibition of 50 years of Bond Style – as well as costumes, I hope to see gadgets and plenty of them, plus set designs. Hopefully a car or two – preferably the one from “The Spy Who Loved Me” that was also a submarine.

What: Designing 007
When: 1st November 2013 to 23rd February 2014, 10pm to 5pm daily (closed Christmas Day)
Where: Melbourne Museum, Exhibition Gardens.
Cost: Adult $24, Child $14, Concession $16, MV Member $14
More information here. Bookings recommended.

My favourite Bond films were the ’60s ones which were just glorious escapist confections, where anything was possible and the kitsch was unbelievable.

Here are some snaps – thankfully the latest film, Skyfall has rescued the franchise for me. Daniel Craig makes a splendid Bond and I loved Judy Dench as M. I’m going to have to go back and see some more of their work now.

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Daniela Bianchi in “From Russia With Love”

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Diana Rigg in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

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Ursula Andress in “Dr No”

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Honor Blackman in “Goldfinger” managing to combine the appeal of Lauren Bacall and Jane Russell and give it a ’60s update.

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Sean Connery and lovelies in “You Only Live Twice”.


I’m beyond excited about this upcoming exhibition at the NGV – I’ve had a sneak peek at some of the gowns and the catalogue and there are some incredible photographs and fashion to see in this one. From the NGV’s site:

“Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion comprises over 200 photographs and more than 30 garments. This stunning exhibition captures the sophistication of the modern woman and the elegance of high-end fashion from this golden age of fashion and photography.

From 1923 until 1938, Steichen was chief photographer for fashion’s most influential and glamorous magazines, Vanity Fair and Vogue. During this time Steichen created images that were imaginative documents of glamour, talent, and style. His work revolutionised fashion photography, and influenced generations of subsequent photographers.

The exhibition will also showcase Art Deco fashion including garments and accessories from the 1920s and 1930s which express characteristic Art Deco motifs and introduce the modern forms of twentieth and twenty first century dressing. The development and changes in the slip dress and coat through the 1920s and 1930s will be shown with examples by leading designers of the day including Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Paquin and Callot Soeurs. ”

What: Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion
When: 18th October 2013 to 2nd March 2014, 10pm to 5pm daily (closed Tuesdays)
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd Melbourne
Cost: Adult $12, Child $6, Concession $10, NGV Member $9
More information at the NGV site.

The NGV have asked me to present a couple of talks as part of the programme, so more news will come about that – in the meantime, pencil this one into your dance cards because you won’t want to miss it!



Hi all,

I’ve loved Marilyn since I was a child and now – for the first time – I have an opportunity to present a talk on her costumes and why they’re so fabulous and special. ACMI have invited me to speak as part of their Hollywood Costume exhibition in a one off event.

“The Golden Age of Hollywood” will be hosted by Clementine Ford and include Cinema Fiasco (Geoff & Janet) who will “humorously dissect some film trailers”, plus someone from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery will be discussing costuming the ’20s in modern times.

Singer Ilana Charnelle will also be performing songs from the Golden Age (incl a Marilyn song hopefully) and there will be sewing demonstrations by Thread Den and an exhibition bar.

Hope you can make it!

What: Hollywood Costume up late: The Golden Age of Hollywood
When: Thursday 1st August 2013, 6.00 pm – 9.00pm (my talk is at 7.00pm)
Where: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost: National free. Entry cost applies for the exhibition.
More information: at the ACMI website

Miss Monroe in the gown that was too raunchy for “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” so you only see it – briefly – from behind.


More reasons to visit beautiful historic National Trust properties! Labassa in Caulfield are holding a Vintage Fashion Day to raise funds and I’m there for appraisals so bring your vintage and antique treasures and I shall tell you what I can about them and advise on how best to look after them. There is a $5 cost per item but all proceeds support the National Trust: a very worthy cause.

From the site:
Visit the mansion that provided the extravagant setting for the Channel 9 series Underbelly: Squizzy and view some exquisite vintage fashion from the National Trust’s Costume Collection.

Vintage expert and award-winning author of “Love Vintage”, Nicole Jenkins, will be available for an informal appraisal of your own vintage garments and accessories. Learn the origins and secrets of your own pieces as well as their care and storage.

Master Milliner Paris Kyne, winner of the 2011 BMW Caulfield Cup Classic Style Award and Principal of the William Beale School of Millinery will be displaying his own vintage-inspired headwear and advising on millinery selections.

UPDATE: Due to Paris’s sad passing, Lady Divine Hats will be displaying vintage hats that are available for sale. A portion of proceeds will go to support the National Trust.

Complete your Vintage experience with a visit to Labassa’s tearooms for a classic lunch, morning or afternoon tea.

Rumour has it that the National Trust Costume Collection will have a display of fashions too.

What: Vintage fashion at Labassa
When: Sunday 18 August 2013, 10.30 am – 4:30 pm (Appraisals between 11am – 11.45am and 1pm-1.45pm)
Where: Labassa, 2 Manor Grove, Caulfield North
Cost: National Trust Members free, adults $10, concession $8, children $4 (Appraisals $5 per item)
More information: see the National Trust website.

Photo source.


The other night, Tim and I went to the launch of the Glen Eira Storytelling Festival at Rippon Lea – and were amongst the first to see an exhibition of ABC wardrobe costumes from many decades, on display in the mansion.

From the National Trust’s site:
As an umbrella event for the Glen Eira Council’s Story Telling Festival, Rippon Lea House & Gardens is hosting an exhibition of 20-25 costumes from ABC programs from decades past. Costumes play an integral part of storytelling on Screen. The ABC has produced and presented some of the best television on Australian screens and this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view some of the costumes that help transport us into the those filmic worlds.

What: ABC TV – Wardrobe Archives Exhibition.
When: June 17th to June 30th. You can see opening times here.
Where: Rippon Lea house, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick
Cost: free with entry to the mansion (adults $15, concession $12, children $9)
More information: see the National Trust website.

There are still a few seats left for my talk next week in the Rippon Lea ballroom, on “Storytelling through ’20s and ’30s fashion”, seating will be at tables and is only $25 per person: perfect for a pleasant morning tea with friends. Book here.

Here are some pics from the ABC costume exhibition – they look surprisingly at home in the sumptuous surrounds of Rippon Lea.

You might recognise number five, one of the Phryne Fisher costumes and be pleased to know that an exhibition of her costumes is coming soon – from September 7th, also at Rippon Lea.

This will be a large exhibition of costumes from “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” TV series and I can’t wait to see them in person. Sure to be very popular, I know many people who have been itching for an exhibition.

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