MELBOURNE.- A fascinating new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria will explore how contemporary fashion has adopted a new aesthetic, where elements of dressmaking have become design components of the finished product.
Remaking Fashion will include approximately 40 garments and accessories, as well as sketchbooks from the Lucas & Co archive. It will also present, for the first time, a photograph by Henry Talbot of Maggie Tabberer modelling aPierre Cardin by Lucas Coat which was published in Vogue Australia in 1959.
Remaking Fashion will trace how the materials of making have all become major components of finished design. Other themes explored in the exhibition include the history of cotton and remaking clothing conventions such as the corset, the dress and the suit.
A highlight of the exhibition will be nine original Pierre Cardin toiles from the NGVs extensive and rare collection, which were donated by Mrs Price of Lucas & Co to the NGV in 1980. These toiles were used throughout the 1960s to make Pierre Cardin dresses for the Australian market.
Paola Di Trocchio, Assistant Curator International Fashion and Textiles, NGV said it is incredibly rare to find designer toiles in museum or gallery collections.
A toile is a garment made of inexpensive fabric, usually cotton, where a designer trials their ideas. Few toiles survive because they were used solely as working models by stores and manufacturers for design ideas.
In addition to the toiles, the exhibition will explore evidence of the new aesthetic in contemporary fashion.
This exhibition charts the cyclical progression from the toile to the realized garment, which then refersback to the toile and the process of making. Most recently this has appeared in Pradas Fall 2006 collection where eyelets, trouser fasteners, parts of metal scissors and hooks and eyes were grouped in discreet bunches as luxurious decoration, said Ms Di Trocchio.
More contemporary examples by designers such as Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Nicholas Ghesquière for Balenciaga and John Galliano for Christian Dior provide examples of the continuation of this aesthetic. Melbourne designers MATERIALBYPRODUCT and S!X will also be featured.
Remaking Fashion will be on at NGV International from 26 September 2008 until 12 April 2009. The exhibition will be accompanied by a multimedia program exploring the process of making and anillustrated room brochure.