Van Gogh and the seasons …

The winter masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria NGV is an event I look forward to with much anticipation every year. Wondering what grand treasures will be showcased makes the wait worthwhile and this year was no different. So, in its final days I decided to brave the cold, and the incredibly large crowds, and head to the NGV to explore Van Gogh and the Seasons.

The exhibition, I must say, was incredible. I had never seen any of his works in the flesh before so this was definitely a treat for me. There is a depth to Van Gogh’s artistry that goes beyond the bold colouring that you notice on first glance. His work really does evoke a sensory feeling, each brushstroke makes you feel as though you can almost see movement which I guess is what made Van Gogh such a profound artist.

And although the pictures I snapped do not do his work any justice they are however a lovely reminder of the beauty he saw in every season. From the regenerative beauty of blooms in the spring to the dormant and bleak landscapes of winter, his pieces really do reflect the circle of life that still has me pondering.

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I love the Night Life …

 

Melbourne’s love affair with all things Art Deco doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. You only need to walk around town to see the beautiful reminders in our architecture. And while I do enjoying looking up to the sky and marvelling over these architectural wonders in the CBD, last week dear sister and I headed to Elsternwick, but more specifically to the Ripponlea Estate, to experience Melbourne’s Art Deco inspired Night Life.

Drawing on the fashion collection of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Night Life is a small but beautifully curated fashion exhibition of the 1920s and 1930s. It cleverly incorporates garments and accessories of the era with the work of contemporary stylists and photographers, who have put a modern spin on a time that truely was dazzling. Night Life brought back lovely memories I have of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries exhibition which I attended a few years ago at Ripponlea, and this collection of treasures seemed to be arranged in a similar manner.

Wandering about the home it gave me an opportunity to admire the interior and gardens of this fine estate once more, a task that I never tire of, especially the gardens which are simply tranquil. After our stroll, dear sister and I retreated to the tearooms for a spot of tea and scones which not only promptly warmed us up from the chill outside but capped off a most enjoyable morning catching up with my big sis, and that for me, is always a treat.

Down the garden path …

Melbourne certainly is buzzing and with this Indian summer slowly coming to an end and autumn beginning to make its mark (bye bye daylight savings) my latest outing revolved around the changing of the seasons and what better way to experience the transition than to see it through the eyes of nature. So, yesterday I headed down to the Carlton gardens for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to have a peek.

I have been attending the show for many years now, marvelling and being inspired to be a better gardener but this year it was a little different. Last year I completed a floristry course, hence my absence from posting, and this year my perspective of the show was completely different now that I was armed with the knowledge I gained through my course. I noticed elements of design that I would’ve normally been oblivious to, paying attention to the mechanics of how installations were constructed and I guess for the first time I really appreciated the show and all the hard work that is poured into it.

They say that pictures speak volumes so I guess I’ll let these snaps show you what a wonderful event this was and how inspired I am to continue making flowers and gardening apart of my everyday life. It truly is the best kind of relaxation therapy and a wonderful way to slow down and connect with the simpler elements in life, especially when modern living seems to revolve around being switched on 24/7. So with that, let me guide you down the garden path, as we stop to smell the roses at the Melbourne flower show.

Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced …

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Collette Dinnigan would have to be one of my favourite Australian designers. I’ve always been drawn to her take on the feminine form, using lace and intricate embellishments to create pieces that evoke a sense of ethereal beauty to not only wear but admire. So late last year, when I heard that the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney was exhibiting, for the first time, a complete time capsule of Collette’s designs I hopped on a flight there to experience the spectacle that was Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced … and the following pictorial is just small peek into this internationally acclaimed designers treasures that were on show.

 

Dark Wonderland …

Bendigo is fast becoming one of my favourite go to places in regional Victoria; with its country charm, old world architecture and lovely cuisine it’s hard not to love this town. Adding to this richness is the Bendigo Art Gallery which seems to be hosting a wonderful selection of art and fashion exhibitions of late that has made it a cultural destination not to be missed. So, having said this, back in January (apologies for the lateness of this post!) my dear sister and I were drawn back to this beautiful town to witness the spectacle that was Dark Wonderland.

A retrospective of sorts illustrating the creative evolution of renowned designer Toni Maticevski, Dark Wonderland was a beautiful nod to a true architect of design. After wandering about this rich collection of garments and other wares, it became quite clear that there was very little wonder as to why he has achieved such international acclaim. The man has skills. His approach to manipulating traditional fashion forms as well as his innovative use of fabrics and unexpected materials in garments highlight his masterful ability to push the boundaries of fashion. Truly sublime. But I’ll let the garments speak for themselves … enjoy!

The Flying Dutchmen …

img_1262 Where has the time gone? It has been quite a while since I last posted, life kind of gets in the way and before you know it a year has passed. But, alas here we are and what better way to start off the year than with a wonderful pictorial celebrating the creative artists that are Viktor and Rolf.

Flowerbomb without doubt is my signature scent and I feel that the gentlemen responsible for such a defining fragrance, for me, are indeed worthy of an exhibition. So, when I heard that the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) would be working in collaboration with the designers to curate an exhibition celebrating their work I could not contain my excitement. The moment it opened I was there with bells on and it truly did not disappoint.

Avant-garde, innovative, cerebral, these are just a few terms that spring to mind when taking in their creations. And with over 40 works on show from the Houses’ archives, Viktor and Rolf: Fashion Artists is the perfect nod to celebrate the duo’s 25th anniversary.

Wandering about I couldn’t help but liken their pieces to a work of art, they seemed to just leap out of the frame and come to life. It’s wonderful. Adding to this wonder were the beautifully crafted Victorian dolls that are dotted throughout the exhibition. These dolls have become synonymous with Viktor and Rolf, all handcrafted by a Belgian doll maker with each doll wearing an intricately crafted miniaturised version of a key collection piece. It’s incredible. Consequently, Viktor and Rolf have carried on this tradition for each of their major collections adding a new doll dressed in an emblematic design. It’s quite symbolic really, the perfect capsule piece that represents the essence of the times through their designs for posterity.

One of the personal highlights for me in this showcase would have to be the Timepiece installation that was specially commissioned for the exhibition … a Victorian doll walking the runway. Performance art at its finest and simply marvellous, it was a lovely way to complete the experience.

But, I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves and hope that you will be inspired by these fantastical creations, just as I have. And if you are in Melbourne and adore fashion then this is an experience you do not want to miss, but you will have to hurry as there are only a few weeks to go until it all comes to an end.

So with that I say happy anniversary V&R … here’s to a delightful design duo that truly are originals.


 

The Dressmaker

On the back of the success of Jocelyn Moorhouse’s cinematic adaptation of The Dressmaker, dear husband and I ventured off this past weekend to see the National Trust of Victoria’s tribute exhibition to the film at Winchelsea’s Barwon Park Mansion.

I had never visited Barwon Park Mansion before and I must say it was the ideal location to host the exhibition. Situated in the rural surrounds of Winchelsea it perfectly evoked the atmosphere of Rosalie Ham’s ‘Dungatar’ as featured in the novel and film and consequently was the perfect back drop to tell the story of local girl turned couturier, Tilly Dunnage … played in the film to perfection by the wonderful Kate Winslet.

Inside the stately homestead, littered throughout every room, garments and accessories harking back to the 1950s was like music to my ears. Vintage at its finest, with cinched and polished creations, everywhere you looked it was a visual treat highlighting the power of the ‘makeover’, a common theme in the story.

To add to the wonder of the exhibition, an in conversation event was also unfolding featuring the author herself and the amazingly talented Marion Boyce, costumer designer extraordinaire who is also responsible for all of the divine costumes of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries fame. While dear husband and I did not get a chance to listen in on the discussion, I did however by sheer chance bump into Marion Boyce whilst waiting for access to the ladies and offered a few words of praise to her. A lovely surprise indeed, she was ever so gracious towards me in our interaction and it was a moment that made my trip to Barwon Park and the exhibition that much more special.

Here are just a few snaps of the exhibition that will no doubt delight. Enjoy as you step into the world of The Dressmaker.

  
  
  
  
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The creative collective at Thousand Pound Bend

Wandering about town, I poppimageed into Thousand Pound Bend for a coffee this morning only to be greeted by some home-grown design. Gracing the gallery space of the venue for the duration of MSFW is a showcase of about twenty-three independent designers including the likes of Limedrop, Habbot, Pageant … all displaying their unique blend of creations. An interesting mix of media to say the least it was an unexpected but delightful distraction while I waited for my coffee. Here are a few snaps of the installations in the meantime …

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Orry Kelly – Dressing Hollywood

imageSpring fashion week has arrived in Melbourne and although the weather hasn’t been behaving as it should, it nevertheless has not deterred this avid fashion admirer from getting out and about and enjoying the events the festival has to offer. So to begin my adventure I decided to start with a visit to ACMI to take in a little bit of old Hollywood glamour.

ACMI’s latest offering, coinciding with the release of Gillian Armstrong’s documentary Women I’ve Undressed, is a wonderful nod to Hollywood’s unsung Australian hero, Orry Kelly. The exhibition showcases the style master’s prolific creative designs that spanned over thirty years, graced 285 films, and garnered him three Oscars for An American In Paris (1951), Les Girls (1957) and Some Like it Hot (1959).

Growing up on a healthy diet of old Hollywood films, this exhibition was never going to disappoint me. It justimage couldn’t. The long list of films associated with Kelly, which are present on a running reel, are among my favourites and I would have to say that the reason for this was because of the costumes … so, so glamorous. I knew I would love it, and I did.

Dressing Hollywood beauties such as Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Shirley MacLaine as well as his most famous muse the amazing Bette Davis, the exhibition celebrates his beautiful creations in their cinematic glory and laments his stature as one of the best costume designers the cinema has seen.

So for those who have a love and appreciation for vintage Hollywood this small but cleverly curated exhibition is a visual treat that will speak to you through its mix of sparkly costumes, movie clips, Oscars, sketches, fabric samples, paintings and more. And as you wander through the open space of the exhibit and take in this amazing talent it will give you a better appreciation of the man who came from Kiama, New South Wales who had aspirations to be an actor and dancer but turned his talent of fine arts and tailoring into a career that would elevate him to become one of the most unfamous Australians to conquer Hollywood in an era that truly was golden.

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