There are exhibitions that deliver more than they promise and ‘200 Years of Australian Fashion’ is such an exhibition.
Delving into the history and drama of fashion in Australia over the last 200 years, this exhibition offers more than 120 works from 90 designers, many of which were pivotal to the growth and development of the nation. This exhibition provides an art-like, theatrical side of fashion, giving a more sensory, interactive
experience to the viewer.
“Australian fashion design has been informed by its geography, resources, migration and its response to international trends,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood.
As if demonstrating this, the exhibition is a visual and textual delight, displaying Australia’s earliest known surviving dress alongside influential current designers. But where this exhibition succeeds is in its gallery-like presentation, providing snippets of history with the outfits, making many of the outfits hang like artworks or sculptures, and giving the audience the sensation of a fashion-influenced time capsule.
From early European and colonial wear, to turn of the century ball gowns, and the 60’s shift dresses, straight through to the 70s, 80s, 90s and everything in between, the history and cultural change are centre stage here.
Effectively this exhibition is more than just a representation of fashion, but a recognised as part of a cultural movement, essentially being part of the Cultural program of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Indeed, as part of this nation’s creative achievements, this exhibition is a must for anyone interested in fashion or history of fashion in Australia, in general. 200 Years of Australian Fashion.