More than 200 garments, each technically and creatively ground-breaking, feature in Museum of Brisbane’s major exhibition, The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive (23 Nov 18 – 22 Apr 19), exploring the impact of internationally-acclaimed fashion house Easton Pearson on Australian fashion history.

The exhibition showcases the most daring technical innovations, fabric and embellishment choices of the fashion house over its 28 years and will be complemented by sketches, accessories, samples, look books, photographs, interviews and anecdotes from the designers.

The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive also reveals the leading role Easton Pearson played at the forefront of slow fashion and ethical manufacture, working closely with artists, artisans and workshops across India and Vietnam to ensure good conditions, fair pay and respectful collaborations.

Chair Sallyanne Atkinson AO said Museum of Brisbane is home to the Easton Pearson Archive which, comprising more than 3,300 garments and more than 5,000 objects, accessories and ephemera, is the largest collection from a single Australian fashion house held by a public art gallery or museum.

“From their base in Brisbane, Easton Pearson took their unique designs to the world, showing in Paris from 1997 and stocked by Browns in London, New York’s Bergdof Goodman, L’Eclaireur in Paris, Joyce in Hong Kong and David Jones across Australia, as well as Japan, Italy and the Middle East at the brand’s height,” Mrs Atkinson said.

“Through their bright, boldly-patterned and eclectically embellished designs, they invited women across the globe to enjoy our beautiful Brisbane lifestyle and developed a cult following that continues today.”

MoB Director Renai Grace said the Museum had been preparing for The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive since receiving the collection in 2017.

“Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson were the storytellers of Australian fashion. Their unique approach referenced art, travel, film, literature and music to create a bold aesthetic characterised by daring patterns, innovative materials, meticulous techniques and a sustainable ethos,” Ms Grace said.

“Their designs remain cutting-edge, even today, due to Easton Pearson’s experimental, demi-couture processes and their passion for creating bespoke textiles, prints and embellishments as diverse as champagne bottle tops, raffia, silver thread and sequins, copper chain, felt, feathers and beads of almost every variety.

“Due to the richness of the resources we have in the Archive, this exhibition is a deep-dive into their processes and approach. It will allow visitors to truly appreciate the intersection of art, fashion and culture and the techniques, some thousands of years old, that were adapted and explored by Easton Pearson.

The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive will be an inspiring experience for all lovers of fashion and an eye-opening one for those wanting to know more about the role of fashion in art, craft, design and culture.”

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