Featuring a rare suite of Gabrielle Chanel’s little black dresses, the deftly draped haute couture gowns of Madame Grès and Yves Saint Laurent’s ground-breaking women’s tuxedo Le Smoking, suit from 1967, The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift showcases more than 150 garments from Parisien haute couture and international fashion houses that have been generously gifted to the NGV by leading philanthropist Krystyna Campbell-Pretty.
From a rendition of Alexander McQueen’s iconoclastic tartan gown famously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker to New York’s Met Gala in 2006, to a dress from Dior’s debut 1947 spring–summer collection, the exhibition traces key moments in fashion history and illuminates some of the most ground-breaking designs from the nineteenth century to today – most of which have never before been exhibited in Australia.
The works have been generously purchased by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for the NGV Collection in memory of her late husband, Harold Campbell-Pretty. Since 2015, Krystyna has gifted more than 250 garments, working closely with the NGV to strengthen its holdings in key areas.
Offering visitors a fascinating insight into the minds of history’s greatest fashion designers, the exhibition also includes original sketches and workbooks by designers including Jeanne Lanvin and Madame Grès, embroidered samples from Lesage, fashion photography from Paris fashion houses such as Givenchy, and rare early fashion magazines, including Vogue, Les modes and Gazette du bon ton. These materials form the basis of a new specialist fashion research library created for the NGV: the Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Research Collection.
Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV said, ‘Krystyna Campbell-Pretty’s support of the Fashion and Textiles Collection is unprecedented for the department and continues to acquire major acquisitions for the collection, including both iconic works and garments by previously unrepresented designers. We are proud to present a selection of collection highlights through this exhibition and, with them, an arresting view of the world’s best fashion and haute couture.’
Krystyna Campbell-Pretty said, ‘Fashion can be simultaneously artistic, pragmatic, and a crucial physical record of complex construction skills and techniques that are all but gone. For me, fashion is also visual and social history, reflecting the role, perception and lives of women in society.
‘I am passionate about building the NGV Fashion and Textiles Collection, as well as broadening my philanthropic efforts in a variety of other cultural and educational programs, especially those directed to children. I hope audiences enjoy this collection, which now belongs to all Victorians and to all Australians,’ said Campbell-Pretty.
The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift will be on display from 1 March – 14 July 2019 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia. Entry is FREE.
ABOUT NGV FASHION AND TEXTILES COLLECTION
The National Gallery of Victoria holds nearly 9000 works by international and Australian designers, making the NGV’s Fashion and Textiles Collection one of the most important outside of Europe and North America.
PROGRAMS AND TALKS
Paris Couture from the Belle Epoque to Jazz Age
Sat 2 and Sun 3 Mar, 11am
Discover the early years of haute couture fashion through the glamorous and glittering floor length belle epoque silhouettes and the bedazzled dresses of the 1920s.
Speaker Paola Di Trocchio, Curator, Fashion and Textiles, NGV
Cost Free; Venue Exhibition space
Ladies First – Chanel, Grès and Vionnet
Sat 2 and Sun 3 Mar, 11.30am
How did couturieres Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, Madame Grès and Madeleine Vionnet introduce a language of modernity into fashion in the early decades of the twentieth century through pioneering innovations in design and construction?
Speaker Danielle Whitfield, Curator, Fashion and Textiles, NGV
Cost Free; Venue Exhibition space
International Women’s Day
Designing the Modern Woman: Couturières of the Early 20th Century
Fri 8 Mar, 7.30–9.30am
At the turn of the 20th century, French couturières Jeanne Paquin, Jeanne Lanvin and Madeleine Vionnet redefined fashion for the modern woman. To celebrate International Women’s Day, April Calahan, Special Collections Curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and co-creator/host of the podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion, explores their legacy. Includes a standing breakfast from 7.30am and an opportunity to view The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift from 9.30am.
Speaker April Calahan
Cost $28 M / $35 A / $32 C, includes breakfast; Venue Garden Restaurant