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VAMFF ARTS PROGRAM 2020 | FASHION AND THE ‘SYDNEY-MELBOURNE’ THING: A speculative look at independent Australian fashion in the 1970-80's with Sally Gray

Thursday 5 Mar 2020, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

While no Australian city makes it onto regular listings of ‘fashion’s world cities’ (Breward and Gilbert 2006), that hasn’t stopped fashion originality, innovation and excitement being generated, both differently and similarly, in both Melbourne and Sydney.

What was it about Melbourne that created the ambience for Clarence Chai’s label, Chai Clothing and Accessories, in Crossley Street, Collins Street and the Block Arcade from 1974 until 1984? And what was it about Sydney that nurtured the work of Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee under the Flamingo Park label (from 1974 to 1982) and later under both the Linda Jackson Bush Couture, and the Jenny Kee labels in the 1980s and early 1990s? How did place and time influence fashion design specificities, styles of runway parades, retail environments and business longevity in the two Australian cities?

In this richly illustrated talk, Dr Sally Gray revisits the research for her well-received book, FRIENDS FASHION AND FABULOUSNESS: The Making of an Australian Style, now in its second edition, to investigate how the two cities generated dynamic, arresting fashion, specific to its time and place.

DR SALLY GRAY is a curator and cultural historian whose work investigates interfaces between art, fashion, sexuality, gender and the life of cities. She has published widely in fashion journals such as Fashion Theory; Textile History; Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion; Studies of Costume and Performance and in popular arts publications such as Art Monthly; Art and Australia; Artlink and Broadsheet Contemporary Art and Visual Culture.

As a curator Sally’s exhibitions have appeared in London, Beijing, Melbourne, Sydney and Australian regional centres. She was the guest curator of the NGV’s widely acclaimed exhibition David McDiarmid: When This You See Remember Me (2014). She was the curator for the public talks series ‘Fashion Ideas’, held in association with the exhibition Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step into Paradise at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney in 2019.

Her book on Australian alternative creativity in the last quarter of the 20th century, Friends Fashion and Fabulousness: The Making of an Australian Style (Australian Scholarly Publishing 2017) was re-issued in its second edition in mid 2019. Her books, book chapters, journal articles and exhibition catalogues can be accessed at:

Friends Fashion and Fabulousness, Sydney 1977

SOLD OUT This event is currently at capacity. If you wish to be added to the waitlist, please email or call The Johnston Collection on (03) 9416 2515 and we will contact you if places become available.