200 Years of Australian Fashion History

Recently I visited the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to see their current exhibition 200 Years of Australian Fashion History. This exhibition was held during Melbourne Fashion Week and will continue until the 31st July near Melbourne’s iconic Fed Square.

As soon as I entered the exhibition I was welcomed into a calming space with fashion images projected upon flowing draped fabric, the excitement stirred inside me as I was eager to continue my stroll through the decades. Beginning in 1805 and making my way through the fashion evolution my eyes were immersed in various textured fabrics from silk to velvet, embroidered crystal gowns to bedazzled sequin bodysuits, fitted silhouettes to baggy oversized street wear.

The curation was portrayed clearly and beautifully as each space I entered I was welcomed amongst a new decade. I loved how the early 1940’s fashion was displayed within a pale rose painted room upon a whimsical lace printed carpet complimented further with striking gold rimmed vintage mirrors. As I continued my journey into the 60’s I was greeted by bright fluorescent mannequins standing upon a bed of pastel pink roses and bright yellow daisies. The 70’s screamed drama and glamour as the designs were presented on flamboyant posing mannequins in the midst of a brightly lit disco dance floor. Each era felt like a flashback not only with the fashion but with how thoughtfully they were displayed in their own time capsule spaces.

Many Australian designers had their creations on show including the colourful creations of Jenny Kee, elegant gowns by La Petite dress salon in Collins Street Melbourne, Prue Acton’s glorious trendsetting mix and match 60’s garments as well as Australian heavy weights  Carla Zampatti and Alannah Hill.

Evening bodice by Mrs Eeles made in 1900 from satin
Silk, ostrich features, tulle and glass beads are combined to create this unique blue evening dress by La Petite, Melbourne in 1959
Vibrant sixties welcome with mini dress by Prue Acton in 1966
Flamingo Park collection by Jenny Kee in the 1970’s
1970’s display lit up the room
My absolute favorite design from the exhibition by DI$COUNT UNIVER$E, the bodysuit made in 2011 with sequins. The label has also designed custom garments for Katy Perry

Overall a truly inspiring exhibition that is absolutely worth a visit and definitely one for the self confessed fashion lover.





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