Conde Nast was the publisher of Vogue Australia in 1965. That was the year I started with Vogue but, much more significantly, the year Jean Shrimpton attended the Melbourne Cup. She wore a mini-skirt, caused a sensation and overnight every woman in Australia was out of fashion. It wasn’t just the height of hemlines; everything was different: dress silhouettes, shoes,handbags, hats, all had to change. There’d been nothing as dramatic since Dior launched his New Look in 1947.
Fashion is not trivial; it is a major driver of garment and accessory manufacture and of retail activity. It is an important way in which people express themselves artistically when they make choices as to the decoration of their bodies. It is also, as in the two examples mentioned, an expression of the changing mood of the times. Some art museums have shown interest in fashion, none more so than the Metropolitan Museum of New York.
However, the National Gallery of Victoria will become something of a rival; its fashion and textile collection is receiving a terrific boost with the acquisition of The Dominique Sirop Collection, a gift of Mrs Krystyna Campbell- Pretty worth $1.4 million.
The Sirop Collection contains 130 works by 30 different designers from 1800 to 2003. There are outstanding pieces including 11 by Dior and 12 by Chanel. The designs are an inspiration; the craftsmanship a revelation. This gift is a remarkable act of philanthropy.
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