Coat, patchwork, velvet / silk, designed by Mary Shackman, made by Mary James, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1965-1966
Mary Shackman (b.1945) is an important Australian textile designer and artist. For over forty years Shackman's textile designs have been used by some of Australia's key fashion designers and manufacturer's including Sportsgirl, Carla Zampatti, John J Hilton, Kenneth Pirrie and Mark & Geoffrey in the 1960s and 1970s to Nicola Finetti and Anthony Kendal in the 2000s.
Shackman describes her style as 'Bohemian and artistic' and this collection of clothing and textiles exemplifies the versatility of Shackman's designs from the striking large scale patterns and bright colours of her prints in the 1960s and the more free form hippy mood of her hand painted clothing in the 1970s to the dramatic painterly quality of her more recent designs for Anthony Kendals 'Thys Collective'.
Shackman's textile designs from the 1960s and 1970s are particularly significant, reflecting a period when Australian fashion manufacturers and designers were using the work of local textile designers rather than sourcing all their materials from overseas or large textile manufacturers. Shackman is equally interesting for the way she has moved across the fashion and social spectrum working as a textile designer; modelling for fashion magazines, the Fashion Design Studio student parades and Akira Isogawa; mentoring young designers and involving herself in promotional events for the restoration of Oxford Street Paddington and fundraising for causes ranging from the RSPCA to the Starlight Foundation.
The patchwork coat was made by Mary Shackman's grandmother, Mary James, from swatches of fabric Shackman designed in the 1960s.
Shackman draws inspiration for her prints from various sources including Australian native flora and fauna, landscapes, faces, geometric shapes and graphic images. Her work is marked by a sophisticated palette and bold designs.
The coat was worn by Mary Shackman in the 1960s-70s. Mary wore the coat, belt and bag with black pants tucked into knee-high boots.
Mary Shackman (b.1945) attended the National Art School at East Sydney Technical College, Darlinghurst in the 1960s and began designing and screenprinting textiles in 1965. While still a student, Shackman co-founded a design studio 'Printed materials, Mary and Vicki' with a friend. They designed hand-painted and printed yardage for clothing and furnishings which they sold to department stores, fashion designers and boutiques including Georges, Farmers, Finlandia, Carla Zampatti, John J Hilton, Simona, Merivale and Gasworks. They also retailed their furnishing and dress fabrics from the Mary and Vicki Boutique in Grieg's city store on Pitt Street, Sydney. Their bold, colourful, large scale designs were printed onto cotton, velvet, jersey and Lurex.
In 1972 Shackman wound down the business to look after her two children and began her own wholesale business with husband George Theodore, hand painting fabrics for Australian fashion labels Jenny Kee, Linda Jackson and Mark & Geoffrey.
She established 'Mary Shackman Australia Pty Ltd' in 1975, specialising in hand-painted and printed designs for her own resort wear ranges of t-shirts, sarongs and accessories. These sold through Country Road, Sportsgirl, Dynamite, Cherry Lane, Hot Shops, David Jones and Robert Burton.
From the 1990s Shackman concentrated on painting, with a number of group and solo exhibitions at the Caspian Gallery, Ken Done Gallery and Valerie Cohen Gallery. She continued to work with fashion designers creating hand painted textiles for Nicola Finetti, modelling for Akira Isogawa and the Fashion Design Studio parades. In 1998 she formed a creative partnership with Anthony Kendal painting fabric designs for his 'Thys collective' collections in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Shackman has also been involved in a raft of activities outside her own design work-she has actively nurtured young fashion designers, been involved in promotional events for the restoration of Oxford Street Paddington and donated paintings for causes ranging from the RSPCA to the Starlight Foundation.
Mary Shackman official website 2008 : www.maryshackman.com