MRS EELES, Melbourne (dressmaker)<br/>
<em>Evening bodice</em> (c. 1900) <!-- (back view) --><br />

satin (silk), silk thread, diamanté, metal, baleen<br />
30.5 cm (centre back) 13.0cm (sleeve length)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Gift of Miss Bell, 1973<br />
D244-1973<br />

back to Media Releases
MRS EELES, Melbourne (dressmaker)
Evening bodice (c. 1900)
Media Release • 21 May 10

Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion

Opening 28 May, the National Gallery of Victoria will present a remarkable collection of clothing and accessories from the 1850s to 1950s in Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion.

Drawn entirely from the NGV’s Collection of Australian fashion and textiles, this exhibition will explore the rise of fashion in Australia.

On display will be rare early examples of labeled garments from the mid 19th century and a range of dresses, tailored items and accessories that were made and retailed in Australia. Paintings and photographs showing how the garments were worn will also be included in the exhibition.

Laura Jocic, Curator, Australian Fashion and Textiles, NGV said: “From first European settlement, the way Australians presented themselves in the new colonies was of vital importance.

“Whether reflecting status and position in a newly formed society, or exhibiting new found wealth and flamboyance, the language of fashion was of particular concern for the burgeoning and diverse society,” said Ms Jocic.

With the discovery of gold in the 1850s, drapers, tailors, dressmakers and department stores were founded to respond to the needs of a growing society. Among these were Farmer and Co in Sydney and Buckley & Nunn in Melbourne which ran dressmaking departments that provided for a fashionable clientele.

Australian Made will begin with late 19th century dressmakers such as Miss Scott in Brisbane and Mrs Eeles in Melbourne who were precursors to the high end boutiques of the first half of the 20th century, such as Le Louvre in Collins St, Melbourne. The exhibition will conclude with works from the early 20th century from independent fashion houses, such as GHV Thomas and Lucy Secor who were beginning to make their mark on the Australian fashion scene.

Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV encourages visitors to view this wonderful exhibition, which charts an important period in Australian fashion.

“This exhibition presents new research into an area of fashion that is relatively under-documented. All the works have been selected from our Collection, showcasing the fashionable trends and demands of the development of Australian style over 100 years,” said Dr Vaughan.

Australian Made will feature labeled garments from Beril Jents (pictured), Hall Ludlow, Buckley & Nunn, Mrs Eeles, Le Louvre, La Petite, Lucas, Hicks, Atkinson & Sons, Misses Mooney, Georges, Lucy Secor, MAGG, Linda Patricia, Hartnell of Melbourne, Ann Austin, Thomas Harrison, Helena, Ottery’s, Ball & Welch, Bright & Hitchcocks, Miss Scott, Brownell Bros, and Ivy Field Lingerie among others.

Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 28 May 2010 to 23 January 2011. Open 10am­–5pm, closed Mondays. Entry is free.

Principal Sponsor: Lavazza

Support Sponsor: Inlink

For further information visit


Download media release

Image caption:
Mrs Eeles, Melbourne (dressmaker)
Evening bodice c.1900
silk (satin), silk thread, diamantè, metal, baleen
30.5 cm (centre back), 13.0cm (sleeve length)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Miss Bell, 1973