Thongs. Stubbies. Bikinis. Bintang singlets for that touch of je ne sais quoi. If you’ve wandered the streets of Melbourne’s CBD in the last few days, the sweltering early autumn could easily make you forget that indeed, we are a fashionable city. On the cusp of VAMFF, the NGVs exquisite retrospective 200 Years of Australian Fashion is a reminder of how fashionable us antipodeans have been for quite some time. Showing at the Ian Potter Centre from the 5th of March – 31st July, you’ve months to take a journey through the 120 works on offer which celebrates Australia’s unique voice in the fashion industry.
Curated as I’ve never seen the Ian Potter Centre used before, the exhibition wends its way through several themed rooms: from Victorian wunderkammer through to a tableaux of 19th century Australian department stores, by the excess of an 80s run through to a joyful iteration of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson’s Flamingo Park.
Look forward to seeing works by contemporary designers such as Toni Maticevski, Ellery and Akira in addition to Australia’s earliest known surviving dress circa 1805, a blue-feathered confection by Collins Street salon La Petite (inset, above).
The pure Australiana and 80s excellence of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson.
With designer / illustrator Estelle and Leeyong of Style Wilderness getting mod.
An exhibition highlight is a commissioned work by Dion Lee: standing like the ghost of fashion festivals past, his installation stands at over four feet and is covered in Swarovski crystals.
A calming counterpoint to the runways and socialising of VAMFF, 200 Years of Australian Fashion is a finely curated show that proves the Australian aesthetic runs deeper than the black and white neutrals that dominate our Instagram feeds.
Photography courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria.