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.
Inside the Collection
- Collection & Research
- Inside the Collection
- Collection Resources
- MAAS Blogs
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 throws itself into another round of Mardi Gras celebrations, it is 35 years since the initial march. Attitudes have shifted since 1978 where the first marchers 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’.
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.
I was contacted late last year by Marie Gorie from the Gulgong Pioneers Museum about a project she was about to undertake. She wanted to re-order the textile store. Maintaining a collection store takes a lot of time and resources and obviously, as the collection grew, some of the maintenance had slipped.
The vibrant Mexican colours and motifs of the Otomi textiles have not escaped the eye of French fashion house, Hermes, which has translated them into beautiful embroidered scarves. Through their project Hermes is now giving income and security to the skilled embroiderers of Central Mexico.
In 1986 Leslie Walford donated a flamboyant collection of clothing and memorabilia to the Powerhouse Museum. Including this charming musical teddy bear. It was a gift from his father who died when Walford was two.
Over the next 4 weeks, if the rain abates and the sun shines, the city of Sydney will come to life as 1000s of men and women fly into Sydney from around Australia and the world for the 2012 Sydney Mardi Gras which kicked off last Sunday with the annual Victoria Park Fair Day.