Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise will open on October 17 at the Powerhouse Museum and will celebrate the artists’ creative partnership.
With more than forty years in the game, the designers and artists are “one of the most influential pairings in the history of Australian fashion.” Remember Princess Diana in Kee’s trademark koala jumper? Who could forget!
Kee and Jackson met in the 1970s and opened the Flamingo Park Frock Salon at Sydney’s Strand Arcade together, uniting their unique styles.
The exhibition title is a nod to their early days, explains Kee, “The sign on the door of the Flamingo Park Frock Salon was ‘Step Into Paradise’ – it was an invitation to visitors, to step into a fantastical romantic world, full of beautiful things celebrating our environment. It was something Sydney had never seen before and we want to replicate this feeling with the exhibition.”
Before they teamed up in Sydney, Kee worked with Vern Lambert at the Chelsea Antique Market while Jackson travelled across the Pacific, Asia and Europe studying influences from Papua New Guinea to haute couture in Paris.
Jackson looks back on the ‘70s as a pivotal moment for Australian fashion. “People often think that the cultural fashion movement in Australia started in the 1980s but it was before then. There was such a pride in Australia when Jenny and I met, people were travelling back here because they wanted to be a part of this creative revolution,” recalls Jackson. “We were proud of coming back and bringing all the influences and everything we had seen overseas back home. Jenny and I have been connected to the museum since the 1980s so it seems fitting that this is the place to tell our story.”
Showcasing over 150 garments, textiles, artworks and photographs including unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archives, the exhibition follows Kee and Jackson from their early days at the frock salon to their more recent collabs with Romance Was Born.
Don’t miss Kee’s black opal Chanel suit from Karl Lagerfeld’s first collection in 1983 and Jackson’s statement Waratah dress. Oh, the glamour.
Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise opens on October 17 at the Powerhouse Museum.