From its very beginnings, rock n roll has argued with itself over image. Is the rock image glam, flashy, showy and gregarious? Or is it honest, dirty, working class and brash? Regardless, ‘look’ has always played a massive part in rock n roll.
Inside the Collection
With thousands of sailors in Sydney this week for the International Fleet Review, celebrating 100 years since the Australian Navy sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1913, I thought I'd write about children's sailor suits.
Mauveine, the first synthetic organic chemical dye, was discovered serendipitously by William Perkin in 1856. Perkin was 18 and working with Professor August Wilhelm von Hofmann, attempting to synthesise the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Despite being a huge star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, Esther Williams’ most famous connection to Australia is arguably her role in the film Million Dollar Mermaid where she portrayed the early life of Annette Kellerman.
2013 is an important year for the Museum. Not only are we celebrating our 25th birthday, but we’re also celebrating 20 years of Student Fashion. The Student Fashion display has been held annually at the Powerhouse Museum since 1993.
As Sydney throw itself into another round of Mardi Gras celebrations, it is 35 years since the initial march. Attitudes have shifted since 1978 when the first march, which was more of a political protest, attracted the wrath of the police and condemnation from certain parts of society and the media.
The end of the First World War saw a tremendous change in society and the horrors of war prompted people to question the rigorous social and moral values of the preceding Edwardian Era. As with any time in fashion history, contemporary concerns and thought affected fashion and so, the nineteen twenties came to symbolise in dress everything that the end of the First World War had brought about –relaxed social attitudes, greater freedoms for women, an economic and creative boom, and most importantly the turn towards ‘modernity’.
Each year the Powerhouse Museum’s Regional Services Program offers a Movable Heritage Fellowship to students residing in New South Wales enrolled at any University campus. Movable Heritage refers to any natural or manufactured object of heritage significance.
Victorian mourning tradition included from commissioning clothing, jewellery and accessories, to the more unusual traditions like post mortem photography. I was interested in taking a closer look at this forgotten practice of excess in the Australian tradition, uncovering the extensive practices of widows in the Victorian era.
One of the more recent entries to the Australian Dress Register website has been a typical 1930’s mans’ suit from the Powerhouse Museums’ own collection. The suit belonged to Ted Docker and was acquired in 1994 by donation from his son John Docker.
Here’s a rare treat for History Week: a richly illustrated and gilded porcelain plate that links the threads we wear with history, science, and the processes used in the textile and ceramic industries.
In earlier blogs I have written with great enthusiasm about the sledges and food taken on Dr Douglas Mawson's 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). Now I find myself similarly excited about some of the clothing from this expedition in our collection.