[Exhibition] Prue Acton

A new exhibition is opening up soon, honouring one of Australia’s most important fashion designers – Prue Acton.

Lord and Taylor, New York shopfront 1967 (detail), silver gelatin print, 19 x 24cm. Courtesy of RMIT Design Archives.

From the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre website.
Prue Acton OBE is unquestionably an Australian fashion icon. Leaving school at 15 to study art and textiles at Melbourne’s RMIT, by age 21, this local girl from Beaumaris was the toast of New York.

At a time when young women were still expected to dress like their mothers, Prue Acton ‘s youth-focused ‘Mod’ designs caught the winds of change, creating a new look for young adventurous Australian women and girls.

Opening her own label in 1963, over the course of the next two decades she grew the business to world-wide sales in excess of $11 million. Snapshots: Prue Acton represents a homecoming for Acton who grew up in what is now the City of Bayside.

The exhibition will feature a range of outfits, accessories and cosmetics in homage to Acton’s status as one of the first Australian designers to create the ‘total look’. Acton was also celebrated for her trend setting outfits at the annual Melbourne Cup and the exhibition will feature one of her iconic Cup creations.

Snapshots: Prue Acton is a participant in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Cultural Program Project Series 2016 and is supported by Museum Victoria. Prue Acton will give an artist talk in association with the exhibition in April. Bookings essential.

What: Snapshots: Prue Acton, fashion exhibition
When: 13 February – 1 May 2016, Wed-Fri 11am – 5pm, Sat-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

Now here are some Prue Acton pieces (with label pics) past and current from my personal collection and Circa, modelled by Becky Lou, St Clare and Vesper. The photos on mannequins are from my book “Love Vintage” and were photographed by Tira Lewis.

Early to mid 1970s fashion – here you can see the influence of fashion trends towards Russian and bohemian fashion (Prue called the look “Rich Hippy”) and nostalgic influences of the Edwardian, ’30s and ’40s eras.Early to mid 1970s

Mid to late 1970s fashion – the first dress has hand-painted roses on the bodice, the others use natural fibres as a backlash against synthetics happened.Mid to late 1970s

Early to mid 1980s fashions – you can see the return of ’40s and ’50s inspired styles here.Early to mid 1980s


  1. I bought a lovely red frock made by Pru. Acton and it was the pride of my wardrobe for many years. I am sorry that I gave it to Vinnies.

    Roma Poynton

  2. I have two amazing Prue Acton dresses purchased in the late 70’s early 80’s. Couldn’t part with them but moving house. Not sure what to do

  3. Hi, just hoping for info on Prue’s Doona cover designs ??? Feel confident in very early 80’s i purshashed 2 exceptionally well made and beautiful doona covers, also to this day the most expensive i have ever purchased!! That said, my sister and I can still picture them, and reminisce about how awesome they were 🙂 So love to be able to see pictures of her collection back in those magical days 🙂 Many Thanks x

  4. I owned a beautiful japanese inspired wrap dress matched with a drawstring fabric and straw bag. From the early 70s

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