200 Years of Australian Fashion

Two hundred years of Australian fashion is a lot to cram into one exhibition, but somehow those clever folk at the NGV have done it! And being somewhat rushed this evening (it’s fashion week, dahlings, I’ve just come back from the first runway show and now need to jump into bed to get my beauty sleep), I’m going to have to cram my thoughts into this post somewhat incoherently, but hopefully my nonsensical ramblings will just make you more determined to get to the exhibition and see it for yourself! I went to the media launch last Friday and saw it again on Saturday but still haven’t seen it properly. There is a lot to take in! Here’s just a little bit (all photos my own unless specified).


Fabulous ostrich feather dress from Melbourne boutique La Petite, 1959, worn by the singer Annette Klooger for a performance on The Graham Kennedy Show. Apparently Ms Klooger just walked in and saw the dress, tried it on and it fitted perfectly so she bought it off the rack – the only dress she ever bought without having a fitting. What are the chances!?


I don’t have the details about this wedding dress but isn’t it gorgeous? It used to have long sleeves (we were shown a previous picture of it at a symposium I went to about the exhibition). I alter clothes all the time but I would have been just a bit nervous to have to hack into something like this!


A straw hat from the ’30s (I think?) – the caption with it was something about making do with things to hand during WWII because of rationing. So that’s why pieces of cork and walnut shells are used as decorations rather than fancier things, but isn’t it lovely? Definitely some racing season inspiration here.


I might be mistaken, but I’m fairly sure that this dress was by Magg (designed by Zara Holt). I have a jacket from Magg that I found for $4 from an opshop and it’s also black (and white – now!)… link here if you’re interested. https://stylewilderness.com/2014/09/01/no-sewing-machine-no-worries/



I LOVED this room – and this dress at the front by Kara Baker for Sirens (it was called Samoan Siren). This room represented the Fashion Design Council, which used to be on Collins Street and was somewhere I loved visiting whenever I made it into the city as a teenager coming from the sticks! So much creativity in a small space. Sadly the FDC closed in the early 90s but I still remember it fondly.


The FDC room again – image by Wayne Taylor.


Flamingo Park, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson’s Sydney salon, recreated for the exhibition. So much colour and pattern! Linda and Jenny were there chatting – and were dressed in even more prints and colours, if that’s possible.


The ’60s display… or a very glamorous aerobics class 🙂

The exhibition covers Australia’s very early days right up to the present, as you’d expect from its title, so whether you’re interested in crinolines, bustles and muslin or more into Lycra and the latest in textile technology, there’s something to see. Speaking of things to see, hopefully I’ll be able to post some of today’s fashion from the festival this week – check out my Instagram for news!