National Trust of Victoria – Super 70s Exhibition

I am going to admit straight up that this is a catch up post!! I have been madly busy and I manage to post the odd item to Instagram but I have not blogged for ages.

So, just wanted to fill you in on a few of the progressions of the Brighton Historical Society Collection. The BHS has had a friendly relationship with the National Trust for some time, and has previously loaned collection items for exhibit. Earlier this year I was pleased to facilitate a loan of five items for the fabulous Super 70s Exhibition. The very talented (and lovely) Elizabeth Anya-Petrivna and her team of talented internal and external collaborators put on a fabulous romp down nostalgia lane.




Room interpretations included:

Planet 70s – Cultural inspiration taken from outer space and new technologies, hits the disco dance floor.

Electrostatic – celebrating the SNAP, CRACKLE and POP! of synthetic fibres, their drape, versatility.


Exhibition label. Pool Party Ensemble. 1973 Watersun (1955 – 1987) Australia. Spandex, Lurex and Elastic Donated by Watersun. On loan from Brighton Historical Society.

Exhibition Label. Left – Hot Pants Suit, 1972, Ricki Reed (1961 – 1982), Estacel, Rayon and plastic. Ricki Reed. Worn as a bride’s “Going away” outfit in 1972, this suit is an example of how acceptable and common hot pants had become in the early 1970s. Although some establishments, like the Southern Cross Hotel would have refused entry to any woman wearing them. Melbourne woman Dorothy Tyoran began the label riki Reed in the 1960s. Her label’s success was due to its popularity amongst London’s mod subculture. By the 1970s, Tyoran has sold her rights to the Australian arm of the business, but continued to supply the company with designs for the local market. It is unknown if this suit was manufactured in England or Australia. Donated by Mrs C Shaw. Middle – Evening Gown, 1974, Van Roth, (1959 – 1985) Melbourne, Australia, Polyester, ostrich feathers and metal. This gown was purchased from (stocked at) Pearl’s boutique Brighton. Polyester Jersey was one of the most popular fabrics of the 70s. As a knit, the fabric has a soft drape, is comfortable and also reveals the bodies silhouette. On loan from Brighton Historical Society.

Time Travel – fashion nostalgia at its best, many eras provided inspiration including Edwardian romanticism, 1940’s sex appeal, floaty styles of the 20s and 30s reinterpreted with modern synthetics, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Nouveau. Heady times.

Bohemian Rhapsody – fantasy and romanticism as epitomised by the iconic store and label The House of Merivale and Mr John. Rock star chic and the male peacock!

Jean Jeanie – the rise of feminism, sexuality rights, self expression and the challenging of gender conventions.

Utopia & other places – all things spiritual, natural and authentic. The emergence of ‘flower power’ and ‘children of the earth’. Cultural appropriation reflective of an expansive awareness and respect for the environment and human connectivity.

Exhibition Label Maxi Dress. 1974ca. Bindi. Melbourne, Australia. Polyester cotton and elastic. Donated by Lee Lang. On loan from Brighton Historical Society.

Exhibition Label. Dress 1975 Georgia Charuhas Mexico City, Mexico. Cotton, lace. This dress was purchased in Mexico by Mary Owen (OAM) (1921 – 2017) While attending the first United Nations International Womens Conference and worn to the reception. Margaret Whitlam was also in attendance. Owen was a prominent feminist, unionist and activist.In the same year as the conference Owen co-founded The Working Women’s Centre, Melbourne. During her long career, Mary Owen advocated for women’s rights primarily in the area of the workplace. On loan from Brighton Historical Society.


Polite Company – fashion becomes more dressed down, and a heck of a lot sexier.

Great work to the team at The National Trust (Victoria).

We look forward to further opportunities to collaborate!



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