Fashion exhibition a design of creativity in Brisbane
FOR 28-years two quietly spoken, dynamic fashion designers created, travelled, explored and did business together. As imaginative and artistic women of their time they picked up on ethnic influences, the penchant for juxtaposing opposing looks, new design freedoms that had travelled in on waves of fabrics, weaves, golden threads and silver sequins since the 1960s.
And they were Australian, resourceful young women who had met during the 70's, married, birthed children, while still maintaining active identities in the public sphere. Within a short time their eye for the bold, unique and meticulous had catapulted them onto the world's most fashionable stages.
But the world's hurtle into global communications had not peaked and their decision to stay in Brisbane, which post expo 88 was just beginning to shed its country town image, meant they were often framed within a small town picture. Still, they stayed with the ease and warmth of Brisbane ensuring their initials are elegantly embroidered into story of the new Brisbane.
MoB Chair Sallyanne Atkinson AO said that from their base in Brisbane, Easton Pearson took their unique designs to the world, showing in Paris in 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. However, it was their enduring hands-on philosophy, that made them earlier initiators of what today is called, slow fashion.
Now in their early 60's and having closed the Easton Pearson label in 2017, the dark-haired Pamela Easton and refined Lydia Pearson, remain close friends and equally share the glow of the spotlight, as the stars behind the Museum of Brisbane current exhibition, The Designer's Guide: Easton Pearson Archive.
When Easton and Pearson closed their business, they sent out a joint press release explaining their decision to close was based on family reasons, but it also provided insight into their extraordinary career:
"While we've loved every minute designing six collections a year, travelling twice yearly to the shows in Paris, appearances in prestigious stores in Japan, England and the United States, and spending months at a time in India working with crafts people, artisan and ateliers, we have also missed out on so many important events in the lives of our loved ones and friends. This is a time to re-evaluate and put some balance back into our lives."
And so it was perfect timing when Dr Paul Eliadis through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts programs gifted this archival collection to the Museum of Brisbane.
This November, Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson,decked out in their unique style of vintage, in prints, patterns and assembled colour stepped lightly through the elegant entrance of the Brisbane City Hall building, made their way upstairs to the beautifully curated show in the Museum of Brisbane (MoB) rooms and breezed gracefully between the rows of exquisite clothing, encased sketches and work books.
An attentive audience listened ans obviously delighted Lydia Pearson shared genuine words, yet understated works describing their thoughtsg surrounding the show, their business partnership and career.
So it was left up to MoB Director Renai Grace to colour the big parts of their history:
"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."
"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."
Tickets to The Designers Guide: Easton Pearson Archive, is on at Museum of Brisbane, level 3, City Hall, King George Square, until April 22, 2019.
Prices are $12/Concessions $9. Children under 12 free. Book at museumofBrisbane.com.au