Inside the Collection


Romance in the Museum

June 2, 2010

Rebecca Evans
Platform shoes covered in lace, glitter and shells! Surely that’s a crime against fashion? In this blog I’d like to introduce you to a rather spectacular pair of platform shoes recently acquired into the Museum's collection.

‘That Dress’- Lady Sonia McMahon (1932-2010)

April 19, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
The Powerhouse Museum acknowledges with sadness the recent passing of Lady Sonia McMahon on 2 April 2010. Lady McMahon will be fondly remembered for her elegance and altruism (especially with regards to her tireless charity work) and of course - 'that dress', which Lady McMahon generously donated to the Powerhouse Museum back in 1987.

Alice in Wonderland

March 22, 2010

Glynis Jones
I recently saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie and Alice’s blue dress brought to mind a dress in the collection created by Japanese designer Jun Takahashi for his Spring-Summer 2005 collection.

Pearls: Streetwear to Stilettos

March 15, 2010

Rebecca Evans
I’ve been doing a bit of research lately on this fabulous dress by Karen Walker and it’s got me thinking about pearls. From this printed graphic to the decorative they are continually referenced in fashion.

Have you weighed your handbag lately?

February 12, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
Friends often comment on the weight of my handbag, joking that I must be carrying around a brick (or two)! So, I decided it was time that my bag, on a typical working day, went for a ‘weigh-in’…3.6kg!

Underwear for down there

January 29, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
Venus Williams turned heads this week with her skin coloured underwear (see the controversial shot here), leading many to believe she actually forgot to put her underpants on! Venus designed the underpants for her fashion label ‘EleVen’, saying they were meant to “highlight the thigh-high and V neck splits” of her dress.

Lookin’ cool in Courrèges

January 15, 2010

Melanie Pitkin
Today, we’re going to take a look at a very cool women’s ensemble designed and made by André Courrèges, the Parisian fashion designer, which was sold through Harrods in London in 1965. It comprises a mini-dress made of bright yellow wool with a white vinyl belt and white wool-acrylic coat.

Pattern Recognition

January 13, 2010

Rebecca Evans
Check silk day dress, (A8072) Collection, Powerhouse Museum. The other day I was working in the basement in the fashion and textiles section when I saw this dress from the 1840s. Silk with a check design of blue, brown and grey, it instantly reminded me of a similar skirt that’s listed on the Australian Dress Register.

The Bayldon Collection at the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

January 11, 2010

Erika Taylor
For most of my adult life I had heard of all the things in my aunt’s possession. Aunty Nan (Nancy Sewell nee Whaites) was a wealth of knowledge and loved to talk about her ancestors. William Edward Bayldon who had been born in England was operating a chemist shop and owned farm land in Adelaide in 1840 when he married Eliza Leaman widow of James Birmingham Kelly.

When Haute Couture is not Haute Couture

December 11, 2009

Melanie Pitkin
Which French fashion house refused to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne and still does not belong today (which technically means that this fashion house is not even recognised as Haute Couture in the legal sense!)?

Dior Couture Inside Out

November 27, 2009

Melanie Pitkin
To fully appreciate Haute Couture and the workmanship involved, you need to look beyond the exterior at the cut, stitching and underpinning. So, we’ve decided to turn one of our Dior garments inside out, the one we believe belonged to Mrs Elizabeth Parke Firestone (or her daughter, also called Elizabeth - thanks Bob!), which I blogged about earlier!

Who wore this Dior?

November 20, 2009

Melanie Pitkin
Haute Couture (or “High Fashion”), as the name suggests, is not for just anyone. It is the pinnacle of fashion, made specifically to the exact dimensions of the wearer, in high quality, luxurious fabrics, virtually all by hand (the seams are machine sewn), and a single garment can take up to 4 months to make.