Athol SHMITH<br/>
<em>No title (Fashion illustration. Model Virginia Grey)</em> 1951 <!-- (recto) --><br />

gelatin silver photograph<br />
50.0 x 39.8 cm (image)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by the Shmith Family, Fellow, 1993<br />
PH57-1993<br />
© Estate of Athol Shmith
back to Media Releases
No title (Fashion illustration. Model Virginia Grey) 1951
Media Release • 14 Feb 13

NGV Collection Focus Captivating style: 1950s Melbourne

A new display at the National Gallery of Victoria features key artists who helped to cultivate Melbourne’s era of style and glamour during the 1950s.

Captivating style: 1950s Melbourne pairs the work of fashion designer Hall Ludlow and milliner Thomas Harrison, acclaimed for their ingenious designs and technical prowess, with the fashion photography of Athol Shmith, the celebrated studio and street photographer.

In the 1950s, tree-lined Collins Street was considered Melbourne’s epicentre of style. Here, exclusive salons and millinery houses reigned over fashionable society by selling custom-made luxury products to a discerning clientele.

Photographers also contributed to the glamour of the precinct. Several leading studios at the ‘Paris end of Collins’ specialised in commercial fashion illustration, creating enchanting images of ideal beauty and perfection for public consumption.

Tony Ellwood, NGV Director, said, “These salons and studios wielded an enormous influence on Australian style. Athol Shmith’s photographs captured the world of elegance and allure that was created through the brilliant millinery of Thomas Harrison and haute couture fashion of Hall Ludlow.”

Captivating style presents twenty photographs from the NGV’s extensive archive of Shmith works alongside fashionable garments that defined the era, including never-before-displayed Ludlow gowns generously gifted to the NGV by Peggy Stone. A curator floor talk accompanies Captivating style – visit for further details.

NGV Collection Focus Captivating style: 1950s Melbourne is currently on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square. Open 10am–5pm, Tues–Sun. Entry is free.


Download media release