From first European settlement the supply of clothing and the way Australian men and women presented themselves in the new colonies was of vital importance. Whether reflecting status and position, or exhibiting new found wealth and flamboyance, the nuanced language of fashion was of particular concern to Australia’s burgeoning and diverse society.
In response to the needs of this growing society, tailors and dressmakers established well patronised businesses, and numerous drapers and department stores were founded, with dressmaking departments providing for a fashionable clientele. Dressmakers such as Mrs Eeles in Melbourne in the late nineteenth century were precursors to the high end boutiques of the first half of the twentieth century, including Le Louvre in Collins Street.
Drawing on the NGV Collection of Australian fashion and textiles, this exhibition examines the rise of fashion in Australia from the 1850s to 1950s, while speculating on the fashionable trends and development of an Australian style of fashion. The exhibition will include rare early examples of labelled garments from the mid nineteenth century and a range of dresses, tailored items and accessories that were made and retailed in Australia.