Australia’s fashion eclectic influences:
Fashion capitals, traditionally, have subscribed to a finite design aesthetic. France is renowned for its couture garments with fine embellishments, the UK for its tartans and tweeds followed by the wave of anti fashion, 1960’s onwards. American fashion is equated with smart casuals and sportswear. Japanese fashion designers are known for dark, deconstructed silhouettes. Australia’s fashion, however, cannot be straight jacketed into a watertight compartment. It is a smorgasbord of eclectic influences.
The early settlers brought with them the remnants of English fashion. Soon enough, this early English aesthetic was tempered by Australia’s weather, environment and outback culture, very different to what an Englishwoman would experience back home. Successive waves of migrants – Europeans, Asians, Americans and Africans left their imprint on Australia’s fashion. This evolution of Australia’s fashion is effectively chronicled at the 200 Years of Australian Fashion Exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV, Melbourne.
Beginning in the departmental stores of Collins Street, Melbourne, where in- house seamstresses churned out made to order dresses from bolts of silks and brocades imported from Europe and India, Australian fashion came into its own in the 1960s.
Prue Acton infused life into Australia’s fashion with her range of colourful mini dresses. Jenny Bannister was Australia’s answer to the Vivienne Westwoods of the West, with her range of cutting edge swimwear and use of anti fashion motifs like razor blades. Deidaa takes a leaf out of these early pioneers of Australia’s fashion. At Deidaa’s Melbourne studios, there is continuous experimentation with colour and avant garde motifs. Deidaa infuses colour in her kaftans and dresses. Deidaa’s designer silk scarves flaunt graffiti motifs with aplomb.
Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee put Australia’s fashion on the world map with their range of clothes and knitwear inspired by indigenous art and unique Australian flora and fauna. When Princess Diana was spotted wearing Jenny Kee’s Koala jumper, Australia’s fashion went viral worldwide. Deidaa has experimented with Australian flora in her 2016 range of designer silk scarves, with a measure of success.
Deidaa strikes a chord with designer duo Easton Pearson. Australian designers like Easton Pearson and Colette Dinnigan incorporate artisan techniques like beading and embroidery in their fashion garments and accessories. Deidaa works closely with artisan communities to include elements of handcrafting in her garments.
Kaftan queen Camilla with her repertoire of vivid African and Asian influenced kaftans never fails to amaze Deidaa.
The Trail Blazers:
The story continues. Australia’s fashion has become a force to reckon with. Contemporary Australian designers like Romance Was Born and the incredibly talented Toni Maticevsky keep adding to Australia’s diverse fashion aesthetic.