Bold, celebratory fashion exhibition You Can't Do That opens at Melbourne Museum today

Celebrating fashion designers who challenged the establishment, garments that rocked new markets and models who smashed the mould, You Can't Do That is a bold fashion exhibition opening at Melbourne Museum today.

You Can't Do That, 2018.

Proudly supported by Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, the exhibition heralds the arrival of true Australian originals. You'll see Prue Acton launch Australia's first international celebrity brand, the irreverent designs of Jenny Bannister, and the sharp but sugared tailoring of Christopher Graf.

By defying convention, these iconic designers became the fashion industry's movers and shakers of their time. You Can’t Do That also celebrates the contribution of two trailblazing models: Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri woman Lois Briggs, now Dr Lois Peeler AM, and former Bosnian refugee Andreja Pejić.

From Stella Dare's lavish suits that broke away from war austerity in the 1950s, to Andreja Pejić's journey from a Broadmeadows refugee to a transgender supermodel, You Can’t Do That charts the success of true originals in fashion.

A one-off Jean Paul Gaultier gown worn by Australian model Andreja Pejić in Paris for the Tribute to Amy Winehouse Haute Couture runway show represents Pejić's special relationship with the French designer after choosing her to model in both his men's and women's runway shows.

Michael Reason, Curator, Museums Victoria said that You Can't Do That enables visitors to get an insight into the influential figures that create fashion rather than follow it.

"You Can't Do That shines a spotlight on six influential figures who’ve created memorable fashion moments through the decades, starting in the 1950s and incorporating a remarkable story of today. Displays styled as shop windows within the exhibition follow their unique paths to success and capture the spirit of the time, with original garments from the designers and footage from catwalks, both old and new, on display."

Key objects and sights include:

  • Six shop window displays designed by John Kerr from Stage One, the designer behind the Myer Christmas windows and fashion displays for the likes of Prada and Dior. Each display tells the hero stories in a spectacular way, capturing a frozen moment in time in the careers of Stella Dare, Prue Acton, Lois Briggs, Jenny Bannister, Christopher Graf, Andreja Pejić.
  • A central 'runway' for catwalk shows within the bold and celebratory exhibition. A video wall features iconic runway show footage - from the 50s to today - paired with a soundscape that will make you want to get up and strut your stuff on the catwalk.
  • Jenny Bannister’s Je Suis Mod dress, 1978
  • A stunning chandelier of individually sized and coloured baubles described as the 'iconic epicentre of the Christopher Graf universe'. It hung in his Chapel Street store as a beacon for the fashionistas of Melbourne.
  • Striking images, multimedia and garments representing the energy of the fashion world.
  • A slow fashion display showcasing Melbourne designers dedicated to sustainable and ethical fashion, building momentum for creativity and transparency in defiance of the fast fashion epidemic.

You Can’t Do That opens at Melbourne Museum on March 2 as part of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s 2018 esteemed Arts Program and is Melbourne Museum's first exhibition co-presented with the festival.

You Can’t Do That is at Melbourne Museum from 2 March 2018 – 15 July 2018. Tickets included with museum entry.

For information, interviews and images please contact: 

A grey icon of a person
Media and Communications Team
Museums Victoria
[email protected]
0466 622 621

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