BENDIGO’S Dudley House will play host to some of the world’s best woollen couture during the next three weeks.
Garments from international clothing houses including Pucci, Chanel, Dior and Yves St Laurent are among the pieces on show for Wool in Couture: Fashion from the Darnell Collection.
The exhibition is part of The Women of Wool series, a feature of the 135th Australian Sheep & Wool Show, which will be held in Bendigo from July 20 to 22.
The custodian of the Darnell Collection, Charlotte Smith, described the garments as unique.
“I inherited about 3500 pieces from my godmother and then collected double that on my own,” she said.
“When I inherited this collection I knew nothing about fashion history and nothing about important fibres within the collection.
“In the past eight years since inheriting the collection I have been passionate about social history and the collection on show reflects that.”
Ms Smith said hers was the largest private collection of international couture in Australia.
“A lot of exhibitions just have the garment and who they were made by; this collection shows the stories behind them,” she said. “The wool aspect of the collection numbers hundreds that date back to 1780.”
Ms Smith said the collection would show fashionistas and locals that wool could be used in different ways.
“The collection shows wool in so many different textures. There is felted wool, jersey wool, it’s woven, it’s not what you would imagine,” she said. “It is just fabulous.”
Ms Smith said it was not the first time she had exhibited her collection in Bendigo. “I was the first exhibition that the Bendigo Art Gallery had, about four years ago.
“It was called Fashion in the Age of Queen Victoria; that was first and then they started with all the other exhibitions.
“Back then Bendigo had already realised that anything to do with fashion history and social history was a winner.”
Wool in Couture will be on display at Dudley House until July 22.
For information about other Women of Wool events in Bendigo, visit www.womenofwool.com.au