[Exhibition] House of Lucas at the Gold Museum

A new exhibition is opening about the wonderful House of Lucas, fashion house of Ballarat and Melbourne.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, and can’t wait to see it.

What: House of Lucas fashion exhibition
Where: The Gold Museum, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat
When: October 28th 2016 to March 2017
Cost: $6.80-12.30 or free with Sovereign Hill entry, please see website for details.
More information: at the website.

Here are some of the House of Lucas garments that I’ve found:

1930s beaded silk gown

1930s silk velvet gown with rhinestones

Late ’50s Pierre Cardin/Lucas jacket as featured in the recent Glen Eira ’50s exhibition.

Late ’50s dress plus House of Lucas advert 1961

House of Lucas adverts, ’50s and ’60s.


  1. I am so sad I missed this, my late Mum worked as Kate Lahaive’s pattern maker and sample seamstress at Lucas during the 60s and together they won the prestigious Gown of the Year .

  2. how much is a LUCAS Nyloc dress worth today? the pagan prints are particularly striking?

  3. Hi Cam, that all depends on market demand, which is shaped by elements of style, condition, fabric, detailing and size. You can try seeking similar dresses to get an idea of what they’re worth but it also depends on where you sell: they will be higher priced in specialised boutiques than in flea markets. Like everything else, it’s about supply and demand.

  4. I have just been offered a lingerie box from this company. Would you like it for your exhibits? It is very old. A quaint picture on the front.

  5. I would have loved to have seen this exhibition. My mum worked for Lucas in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, in the early 1960s.

  6. I also worked at Lucas clingers lane from 1967 to 1972. Would have loved tovhxvr seen the exhibition I halos had a few items to add
    Cheers Ros

  7. I have only just found this site and am re-living my time at Lucas Fashion House in Flinders Lane as an apprentice cutter in the early 60’s. It was my first paid job and I had just turned 16. I travelled from Thornbury by tram every day and loved seeing the city going about its early morning routine.
    I started off in hand finishing, spent some time in machining and finally graduated to the cutting table. There were two of those, one on each side of the room and very long. Hanging on hooks behind each table were heavy brown paper patterns for the current fashions. I remember there were 2 designers, one for day wear and one for after 5 wear. The day wear designer had a room on the left side as you walked through the door and the right room was for the after five designer. I wish I could remember their names.
    I was supposed to be working in day wear and remember the fabric Nyaloc which draped nicely and was so easy to care for. Because I was 5’9.5″ I was sometimes called in to the room of the evening wear designer as a stand-in model for alterations when the regular model was unable to come in.
    I loved everything “fashion” and my dream was to become a fashion designer.
    One week I was sent to Black Lance knitwear (I think it was in Prahran?) to help out with putting together sample cards of yarn, which were send out to fashion stores. There was a kind of camaraderie as well as fierce competition between fashion houses at the time.
    In my short time at Lucas I learned about the importance of finding the true grain of fabrics, how to match patterns in fabric – eg such as plaid checks when making a skirt or suit jacket, how to cut slippery fabrics like chiffon and how to allow for lace motifs when cutting.
    Although there were electric cutters (which were great for cutting through layers of fabric I wasn’t skilled enough to start with those. The heavy tailor’s scissors I was given (made by Weiss) were a joy to use and I actually have a pair now which were gifted to be by the daughter of a tailor who worked in Myer’s Menswear many years ago.
    I loved going up to the floor where all the buttons, threads and ribbons were kept. There was a whole wall of coloured threads and the matching had to be precise.
    Sadly I was only there for around 8 months because my Dad’s work had him move to the Western district and I was considered too young to be left behind in the “big smoke”.
    The things I learned about fabrics, garment creating and sewing in general at Lucas Fashion House have served me well my whole life and I am grateful to have started off my working life there.

  8. Hi Emmie, thank you for your comment and your wonderful memories. I worked with garment factories throughout the ’80s and up to 1994 and they were exactly as you describe, it brought back memories of my own. We never lose these early experiences do we, even though the world has changed so much since then.

  9. Hello Nicole
    I missed yr talk on House of Merivale because I just saw the details. This is the era I absolutely loved. I bought my first leather coat from them in late 60s. I worked close by to their Collins St store.
    I would love to hear your talks on fashion in the future!!!

  10. Hi Trish, sorry to miss you! Hopefully I can present it again: it was a great topic. Such a dynamic and interesting label. I do have a new talk coming up for Glen Eira next month about the ’60s-70s designer Norma Tullo. Hopefully you can catch that one?

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