Unbeknownst to many, tucked away in the collections of our small community organisations are extraordinary gems of material culture. The Brighton Historical Society houses a significant costume collection with strong local provenance donated to the society from the 1960s onwards, by the local community. Many garments bear the labels of nineteenth and twentieth century Australian and international fashion houses now long lost. Bearing testament to a vibrant local design, manufacturing and retail industry, these garments also reflect the lives and tastes of the women who once wore and treasured them, offering a window into a cultural microcosm of early Melbourne. This lecture focusses on a selection of labeled garments from collection dating from the 1880s to the 1970s, including George & George, Beatrice Cook, Hartnell of Melbourne and Ricki Reed.
Laura Jocic & Annabel Butler worked together on the Brighton Historical Society's Costume Project which received a Local History Grant through the Public Records Office Victoria.
Laura is undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne researching dress and its role in colonial Australian society. She is a former curator of Australian Fashion and Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria where she curated the exhibitions Australian Made: 100 Years of Fashion and Linda Jackson Bush Couture. Her most recent lecture for the Johnston Collection was From drapers to department stores: the colonial Australian context (2019).
Annabel has a background in theatre costuming, shoemaking, product design, image consultancy, costume history storytelling, project development and management. Currently consulting across a range of industries and developing new works to further engage audiences in the human stories of our clothing history.
Hartnell of Melbourne
Cocktail dress, c.1952
Brighton Historical Society