Kate Longley and Zoe Allnutt from Wardrobe V Pantry couldn’t decide if they liked fashion (Issey Miyake’s <em>Bustier</em> 1980–81) or food more so they just stuck ‘em together.<br/>

Issey Miyake’s Bustier v toffee apple

Hello and welcome to the takeover!

That’s right, you heard us.

For the next fortnight, in conjunction with the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the NGV will be blogging strictly fashion.

From the clever mash-ups of Wardrobe V Pantry, to Leo Greenfield’s street-style illustrations, to posts by emerging designers, vintage retailers, curators and catwalk commentators, WE BLOG FASHION covers the iconic to ironic with a forwards look at local fashion culture.

Seeing red

More than just aesthetics, colour in fashion conveys meaning. And if you’re wearing red and you’re a woman, well chances are you’re saying sexy. If my judgment seems coloured just think on the associations; red roses, red-light districts, Lady in Red; passion and lust.
Admittedly red has been in out of vogue over the centuries for other reasons. In the 16th & 17th centuries it was worn by fashionable aristocrats who drew on red’s historical associations with the Church, power and prestige. Long before Louboutin, Louis XIV of France painted the heels of his man-pumps crimson to claim attention. Chic and showy, red was highly prized because of the great expense involved in producing dyestuffs from Mexican cochineal beetles.

In the 1850s, thanks to Nathanial Hawthorn’s The Scarlett Letter, red signified adultery and was rarely worn. Yet skip forward to 1990 and a ravishing red dress is what turns Julia Roberts from sinner into socially acceptable. It’s no accident. From Funny Face to Pretty Woman, Valentino to Rouge Dior, the power of the colour red has been long-used by designers wanting to make a statement.

Danielle Whitfield

Image: Kate Longley and Zoe Allnutt from Wardrobe V Pantry couldn’t decide if they liked fashion or food more so they just stuck ‘em together.