While the Paris couture shows are in full swing, it’s worth noting that Australia has its own heritage of fine fashion craftsmanship, albeit on a smaller scale. Still, not that small.
Over their 28 years in business, Easton Pearson amassed a jaw-dropping archive of over 3,000 garments and accessories. But when they closed last year, a cloud of uncertainty hung over its future.
Designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson didn’t have the resources to preserve it – what usually happens in these circumstances is the whole lot goes to auction and the collection is broken up.
Fans buy a tiered skirt here, an embellished coat there – and just like that, it’s all over.
But in this case, Dr. Paul Eliadis, an oncologist with deep pockets and an even deeper appreciation for the arts, stepped in and bought the whole shebang – then gifted it to the Museum of Brisbane, where it will be available for students, researchers and fashion fans to access.
Museum director Renai Grace told marie claire that, as a condition of the gift, there will always be some pieces on display, and a major exhibition is planned for 2018.
“For a big country town Brisbane continues to punch above its weight,” said Pam Easton at yesterday’s press conference. Pearson added that as demonstrated by the cultural vibrancy of Belgian fashion hub of Antwerp, fashion and creative communities can and should flourish outside of the obvious capitals.
“The archive is a whole history, not just the clothes but the backstory as well, all the campaign shots, press books, runway videos and accessories and so much memorabilia,” said Pearson, who now teaches fashion at the Queensland University of Technology.
Dr. Eliadis admits he doesn’t know much about clothes. “I just knew that the archive should be kept intact and made available to the public. It’s a rare thing, not least the span of it – nearly three decades – but in terms of telling a story of Australian fashion Some of these clothes are works of art,” he says, and indeed in 2009, they formed the basis of the first stand-alone fashion exhibition at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. “Even to a fashion novice like me, its value culturally was self-evident.”
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