Swish: Fashionable Melbourne of the 1950 at the Natinoal Gallery of Victoria provides a glimpse of Melbourne’s fashion during 1950s. The exhibition focuses on key Australian designers and labels, from the NGV’s collection including Le Louvre, Hall Ludlow, Linda Suchestow, La Petite, Georges, Raoul Couture, Thomas Harrison, Ann Austin and Lucas.
The international influences of British Royalty, Hollywood and French fashion had a significant impact on Melbourne women in the 1950s. High profile Melbourne events, such as the Royal Tour in 1954 and the Olympic Games in 1956, also impacted on the way Melburnians viewed themselves.
These influences and events provided new opportunities for international attention and created a platform for local talent and successes in the fashion arena. Swish explores this fusion of international and national style that generated the development of a distinctly Australian approach to fashion.
Acknowledgement of Australia’s own emerging presence in the fashion market was gaining momentum and recognition. Events such as "The Gown of the Year Award" and the "Australian Wool Bureau Fashion Awards" were imitated in 1953 and 1954.
Fashion magazines such as The Australian Women’s Weekly, Flair, Table Talk and Vogue, along with local press, all supplied continual reports on up-to-the-minute fashion trends and advice style dos and don’ts.
Photography also played an integral role in developing Melbourne’s fashionable image in the 1950s. Famed photographers such as Athol Shmith, Bruno Bernini and Helmut Newton created images of glamorous, well-dressed and sophisticated women. Fashion models, known then as "mannequins" such as ‘Bambi’ Tuckwell (Shmith) and Diane Masters achieved star status.
Swish offers audiences a chance to revisit this stylish decade. A multimedia component and room brochure accompany the exhibition.