When I was a kid, I had designer dreams.
I wanted to be a fashion designer, and was always drawing outfits, stitching tiny garments for my dolls, and spent hours creating entire collections for paper dolls.
Somewhere along the way however, real life interfered – something to do with sewing machines snarling up as soon as I looked at them, and failing Year 8 home economics. I eventually had to concede that I didn’t have the drawing skills either, despite taking Art as a subject to Year 10.
There is still a special place in my heart for my designer dreams of long ago, so I was irresistibly drawn to the Easton Pearson Exhibition, celebrating one of Australia’s most successful design teams.
I was vaguely familiar with the label from the RAQ Fashion Awards which I’ve watched on telly a time or two. Established in 1989 by Brisbane duo Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson the design house closed in 2016, and last year, over 3000 items were gifted to the Museum of Brisbane. Most of the pieces on display were design samples, while some were worn on catwalks around the world.
There’s not too many couture labels where I would actually *wear* the clothes – often they are more about art and fantasy than practicality. However the outfits pictured above all get my tick of approval (#fashionfromtherealworld), and would work well in our Queensland climate where sticky summer weather is the norm for about 9 months of the year.
The red dress above made me smile – it is made up of hundreds of tiny rosettes crafted of fabric scraps – just like the ones my grandma would make, to piece together clown dolls in the seventies!
I love the dress (actually a beautifully embroidered top and skirt) in the middle of this trio. Not a fan of any part of the ensemble on the right however!
As you can see, Easton Pearson were not afraid of a frayed edge or two … my high school sewing teacher would have been horrified by the “poor workmanship”. (Maybe I have what it takes to be a designer after all?!)
This dress looks like something Kate Winslet would have worn as Rose in Titanic, don’t you think?
And check out the evening wear – the dress on the left is embroidered with real silver, however it has tarnished over the years so now it looks more like gold. The black and gold ensemble looks like something my mother would have worn back in the day, and who can resist a cute flapper style dress with requisite fringing – except it’s made of raffia, bit of an unusual design choice!
Easton Pearson were renowned for incorporating artisan techniques into their designs – from hand printed batiks to applique, intricate beading and embellishments, cornelli work and embroidery, sometimes using unusual and unexpected materials – for example, beads which are actually tiny stones, shells, or wood, or using raffia as a trim.
A casual glance at the dress above, and it could easily be something you will find mass produced and in store now – like many of Easton Pearson’s designs, it has a timeless quality. Oh, and that pattern is not printed on the fabric – it’s beading.
My sister and I agreed that the mustard coloured frock above was probably our favourite piece from the exhibition, probably because we could picture her daughter wearing it – the style and colours are just “her”.
If you’re in Brisbane there’s still time to visit the Easton Pearson exhibition, as it closes on 22 April 2019 – and is well worth the small entrance fee of $12 ($9 concession).
What was the last exhibition you saw at a museum?
If you liked this post, you might also like to read about my last visit to the Museum of Brisbane to see costumes from the Golden Years of Hollywood.