Outfit, womens, top / trousers / tabard / tie / bag, 'Opal Passion', silk taffeta, print by Jenny Kee, designed and made by Linda Jackson, Australia, 1982
Jenny Kee collection of clothing, textiles, artwork and archive, Australia/England/Japan/Africa/USA 1967-1995
Jenny Kee (born Sydney 1947) is one of Australia's most important designers, best known for designing and retailing a unique range of colourful clothing and knitwear. One major theme links all aspects of this collection, Jenny Kee's love of Australia's unique natural environment. Her garments are a canvas for her artwork featuring images of native flora and fauna, the opal gem stone and urban icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
The Jenny Kee collection and archive was acquired by the museum in 1998 and 1999. They document the evolution of her clothing and textile designs, the creative process behind her designs, the development and management of her retail outlets Flamingo Park and Jenny Kee, the significant role she played in environmental activism in Australia and her public profile as a celebrity artist with-in the advertising industry.
The collection and archive document her life and work over twenty years and includes clothing and textiles by Jenny Kee as well as Kee's business partner Linda Jackson (b. 1950), original artwork for many of Kee's designs, business records, newspaper and magazine clippings, videos of parades, parade invitations, props and programmes, shop mannequins, shop signs, scrapbooks and posters.
The collection and archive not only records Jenny Kee's life and work, but also can be read as a document that charts important cultural changes in Australia. Kee was born in Bondi, to a Cantonese businessman father and Italian/British mother. An early newspaper clipping shows her modelling as the face of Canadian Airlines. In the 1960s, she, like many other young Australians, spent several years enjoying the creative atmosphere of 'Swinging London'. She returned to Australia in the early 1970s and attracted by the encouraging cultural climate of the new Whitlam led Labor government, decided to stay. Kee then opened her Flamingo Park' 'frock salon' in the Strand Arcade in Sydney selling her own designs as well as the work of other innovative designers like Linda Jackson, Peter Tully (1947-1992) and David McDiarmid (1952-1995). Many of the pieces sold through the shop are included in the collection as well as signage, programmes and videos of the lively parades she and Linda Jackson produced.
The collection preserves a unique record of this important designer's personal and professional career from the 1960s through to 1995.
Print by Jenny Kee, outfit by Linda Jackson.
Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson met in 1973 when Jackson showed her first range of clothing at the Bonython Gallery in Sydney. Jackson had returned from travel in Asia and living in Paris. Kee had recently returned from London, where she worked in the Chelsea Antique Market. Later in '73, Kee opened the 'Flamingo Park Frock Salon' and filled it with jackson's 'Jackson Couture'. For the next ten years Jackson and Kee worked as prolific and highly successful collaborators, becoming internationally acclaimed for their contribution to a unique Australian style. Their annual parades incorporated other artists, jewellers, musicians and models, and became famous as 'trendsetting creative events' (De Teliga, p 13). in 1981 Jackson and Kee staged their last joint show and parted as friends to pursue their own work. See De Teliga, J., and Jackson, L., 'Linda Jackson, The Art of Fashion', Fontana, Australia, 1987.
The opal became one of the most important motifs for both Kee and Jackson.
This outfit was made by Linda Jackson, Australia.
This outfit was made in 1982.