The history of our nation’s trendy seams is unveiled in a showcase of over 30 photographs in which the lens has pinpointed Australian fashion icons. As one walks down the runway-like aisle, consuming the images contained in the exhibition one becomes privy not only to glimpses of fashion trends but to the stories of the people and culture behind the clothes. Fashion photography’s contemporary purpose is to sell clothes and broadcast celebrity style, forming the currency of the glossies such as Vogue and, more recently, a sprawl of digital media; with this collection we follow the compelling weave of the cultural and technological threads that led to Australian fashion photography’s current existence, which included cartes-de-visite, as well as portraits of the wealthy posing in their finest as a display for loved ones. In each snapshot, from the hand-coloured portraiture to the digitally captured images, there is an announcement of sorts to pique admiring audiences’ fantasies or aspirations, whether it be a 19th century coal merchant’s family posing in all the finery of an assortment of ruffles, fringing, ruching and lace between them or a cinematic-looking tableau of Maggie Tabberer in a billowing Pierre Cardin floral silk dress accompanied by gun-toting gangsters captured by Helmut Newton. Many influential arbiters of taste are depicted amongst the stills of key moments in Australian fashion photography, including entrepreneur June Dally Watkins, model Jennifer Hawkins and the 50s ideal homemaker. Take a peek at the glamorous trail of Australian fashion photography and you’re sure to be delighted.
Until late Dec, State Library, Macquarie St, Sydney, free, 9273 1414, sl.nsw.gov.au