The National Gallery of Victoria has been home to some of the most incredible fashion exhibits that have ever come to Australia, and The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture was no exception.
“The House of Dior explores the story of the fashion house through a series of themes, featuring works by the seven designers who have played key roles in shaping Dior’s renowned fashionable silhouette: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri” (NGV, 2017).
The exhibition explored the rich history of the house and it’s design codes, showcasing the range of design styles from each creative director and their successors. The House of Dior featured such an amazing collection of garments, from when it all began, with Christian Dior himself, to the current state of the brand, in the hands of Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The couture displays ranged from a more minimalistic and ready to wear approach, adopted by by the likes of Raf Simons and, to the extreme and avant garde designs, which were a signature to John Galliano’s time with the house.
Seeing the 140 pieces in real life was surreal. Being able to view the garments in first person captured them in a whole different light, bringing another dimension to what we have only seen on the red carpet or in Vogue. Each piece unique in a way that can only come from such innovation and impeccable craftsmanship, but what else would you expect from Dior?
Melbourne Fashion Week is a must for anyone who loves Australian fashion. Each year, during the first week of September, the best Australian designers gather to showcase their looks to the cosmopolitan fashion hub that is Melbourne.
The week is an array of designer handbags, ten foot tall models, champagne bars and a few dozen shows. The city is abundant with street style looks, as well as the highest of high fashion, as the best dressed crowds all flock to the Melbourne Town Hall to see what our talented designers have come up with for the emerging season.
The runways are an event within themselves, with numerous photo opportunities, eavesdropping on front row small talk, an incredible display of the latest fashion and the inevitable fight for the last remaining gift bag at the end of the show.
As well as the runway events throughout the week, there are several galleries and exhibitions that are definitely worth attending, which capture the essence of Melbourne’s greatest talent, both emerging and established.
As a whole, the week is one of the best in the year for fashion Australian lovers and such an amazing way to discover the new seasons impeccable style and innovation, both on and off the runway.
In the fast paced and innovative world that we live in today, we gladly welcome technological novelties as they come and go. The latest to catch my eye is 3D printing, and consequently, it’s presence in fashion. The Out Of Hand: Materialising the Digital exhibition, at the renowned Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, opened my eyes to a new way of conceiving an idea and transforming it into a garment. These incredible designs that were showcased left me in awe, in the fact that they had all been created digitally and printed my a machine. This concept of 3D printing offers a world of possibilities, from digitally knitted sweaters, that give the illusion of three dimensionality, to incredible textured overcoats, that embody both haute-couture and wearability, and Swarovski suits, that literally act as a second skin, the exhibit offers an insight into the new age of fashion and the future that lies ahead. With some of the incredibly sculptural pieces being an art form in their own right, and others extremely ready-to-wear, all of the garments were impeccably finished, ingenious portrayals of fashion. This exhibit showcased an exciting range of 3D printed pieces, including, but not limited to, these incredible works of fashion, and was an insightful introduction to the new age of digital technology.
One of the many things that speak to me about high fashion is the overwhelming sense of luxury that comes from seeing it in the flesh. Just over a year ago, during my first trip to Singapore, I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the most incredible exhibit from one of my all time favourite designers and perpetual inspiration, the acclaimed house of Louis Vuitton.
The Series 3 exhibition was a dream come true for me, bearing witness to these statuesque displays that represented the epitome of high fashion was quite literally my sartorial heaven. Upon entering, after having just been given a lift on the Louis Vuitton shuttle buggy (because of mistakenly going to the other Louis Vuitton in the astonishingly big space of the Marina Bay Sands) to the most amazing location of the semi-underwater crystal-like glass building in the Marina Bay area that looked directly onto some of Singapore’s most iconic sights, I was immediately engulfed by the opulent atmosphere.
Greeted by walls covered in photographs of Nicolas Ghesquière's latest collection, and the exhibition guide, I was firstly lead into a dark room, displaying only a red LED sculpture of the house’s infamous logo, then several more rooms detailed with the brands most famous prints and renowned logo projected onto the whole of the space, before even entering the main part of the exhibit. With displays ranging from rooms that were entirely white (models included) carrying the juxtaposition of the colourful crafted accessories, to a demonstration by actual French artisans who were flown in from Paris to show the construction of the infamous Petit Malle, of which (and one of the highlights of my entire existence) I was allowed to work on, while casually exchanging phrases of the little French that I knew at that point. Various pieces from several Louis Vuitton collections were on display throughout the exhibit in large glass boxes, representing the realisation of its exclusivity.
The exhibition was surreal, being exposed to that much elegance and fine craftsmanship all at once, continuously confirming my love for fashion. As a whole, the experience was a much-desired glance into the intense world of luxury and impeccable craftsmanship that is high fashion, and more specifically, Louis Vuitton.
Singapore: a city that is both innovative and fashion forward. The bustling streets always crowded with hurrying label clad pedestrians - most accompanied by a selfie stick and Issey Miyake handbag. An array of Vuitton, Fendi and Comme des Garçons can be seen in a glimpse of any direction, worn by hundreds upon hundreds of passers by. Worldwide displays of fashion, straight from the Fashion Week runways or latest edition of Vogue, can be seen worn upon people all around. Singaporeans by the dozens are dressed in the most current trends, both famous and unknown alike. From the more obvious displays of logomania to the simply modern styles, each person has their own unique look to be showcased on the chicest runway: the Singapore streets. The style - much like the city itself - is quirky, playful and expensive. In terms of fashion - Singapore is the real city that never sleeps.
When looking for things to do before my recent trip to Melbourne I stumbled upon the Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Being a lover and enthusiast of their spectacular avant-garde approach to fashion, I simply had to go to see the showcase of the innovative garments by the Dutch duo in the flesh.
Walking into the exhibit, I approached a series of spinning mannequins displaying a series of looks created for their haute couture Russian Doll collection of 1999; which was appropriately named as the feature of these looks was the development from little clothing to being engulfed by the likes of the cocoon-esque coat displayed last.
Throughout the rest of the exhibition was a display of the remaining 40 or so looks paired with matching looks on hand crafted dolls, visual presentations of past shows and a more interactive and playful display of a doll fashion show. When entering the show, that was played in 15 minute intervals, the atmosphere was set with lights and music, the doll then walked down the runway wearing an outfit from one of Viktor & Rolf's recent collections.
Viktor & Rolf's designs showed an obvious development through their avant-garde design style, exploring elements of darkness and mystery in an gray trench embellished with a 3D NO across the chest and a series of black oversized coat dresses, then a more playful side in garments such as the colourful crystal embellished mini dress and the infamous peach tulle gown with cut out holes from their Cutting Edge Couture collection of 2010. Some of the designs also aired on the humourous side like the quilted, almost robe type dress with cushions emerging from the back of the neck or the white cartoonish three person tall dress, providing an insight into the designers' conceptions of the world of avant-garde fashion.
“Viktor & Rolf stretch the definition of both fashion and art,” said National Gallery of Victoria's director Tony Ellwood. “Their boundary-pushing designs challenge the way fashion is developed, presented and disseminated with masterful craftsmanship, intellectual rigour and an ironic sense of humour.”
From dresses made from frames that literally explored the concept of 'wearable art', to looks that engulfed the model in tulle or that were hung by light fixtures, every look was a successful interpretation of the presence of art in high fashion.
The Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artist exhibition gave an intimate look at these amazing creations, showing how far the boundaries between art and fashion can be pushed, in an extremely creative atmosphere, which surely left everyone who saw it feeling amazed and inspired.
Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists will be on at the National Gallery of Victoria until Febuary 26.