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Art Gallery of South Australia - Fashion Icons


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Fashion Icons is one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever held at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It is a privilege to be working with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs,  esteemed curator Pamela Golbin and international designer Christian Biecher to bring the very best of French fashion to Adelaide. We anticipate that an exhibition of this calibre and content will have broad cross-generational appeal and provide inspiration to the Australian fashion industry. Nick Mitzevich, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia

The  Art Gallery of South Australia will host the most significant  fashion exhibition ever seen in Adelaide.  Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris  will showcase  more than 90 iconic garments spanning eight  decades by  55 of the world’s leading fashion designers including Dior, Laurent, Chanel, Cardin,  Dolce & Gabbana, Givency, Laroche, Balmain, Galliano , Westwood, Rabanne and Yamamoto.

Exclusive to Adelaide, Fashion Icons will be drawn from the most comprehensive collection of French fashion in the world, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and is curated by the museum’s Chief Curator of 20th and 21st Centuries Fashion and Textile, Pamela Golbin.

Internationally renowned, Golbin has curated ground-breaking exhibitions worldwide including Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs, Madeleine Vionnet: Puriste de la mode and the Valentino Retrospective: Past/Present/Future.

Fashion Icons will paint a unique picture of Parisian style within the context of contemporary fashion design since 1947 when the couturier Christian Dior re-launched Haute Couture with his New Look. He did so in a Paris struggling with the aftermath of the Second World  War. With style and panache, he reignited the fashion industry; flaunting clothing restrictions, his haute couture announced the return of beauty and glamour. Paris was again the centre of world fashion. The dress Dior named Adelaide will be a highlight of this exhibition.

From that time fashion design blossomed with the lavish splendour and glamour of the 1950s, the futurist dynamism, feminism and sexual liberation of the 1960s and the inspired emancipation of the 1970s –  the time which Paco Rabanne created his notorious space-age shift dresses from metal disks worn famously by the singer Brigitte Bardot and the time when Saint Laurent introduced the trouser suit for women. Then there was the  unbridled excess of the 1980s which was a time associated with power dressing for strong women and the age of spectacular fashion shows and the supermodel  and then there was the  pure minimalism of the 1990s, all inspiring today’s composite portrait of the 21st century.

Ever responsive to a changing world, fashion in the twenty-first century has seen the rise of men’s couture and the cult of celebrity fashion. Included in the exhibition is Dolce & Gabbana’s chrome bustier dress made famous by Lady Gaga.

This exhibition has been made to measure especially for Adelaide. The works have not been previously seen  in Australia. This is a unique opportunity to see the exquisite fashions by some of the world’s most inspirational designers.

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