Shift dress, cotton / metal, designed by Anthony Kendal, made by Thys Collective, handpainted by Mary Shackman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2001
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 from 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'.
Anthony Kendal (b.1976) invited Mary Shackman to collaborate on his label Thys Collective after receiving a birthday gift of one of her handpainted cubist inspired silk wall hangings. Kendal thought it would be a great idea to make 'frocks' together and Shackman agreed. Six months after graduating from the Fashion design Studio, Kendal was selling his designs internationally. He started with 60 tops and skirts made from hand painted silks by Mary Shackman and sold to Collette in Paris, Selfridges in London, Henri Bendel, New York, Villa Moda in Dubai and Kuwait.
The clean unfussy lines of Kendal's clothing designs complemented Shackman's vibrant artwork resulting in a very successful melding of fashion and art.
The shift dress was designed by Anthony Kendal for his label Thys Collective with fabric hand painted from an original design by Mary Shackman.
Anthony Kendal born 1976 in Perth, Western Australia, credits the designs of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson as his first influence. He made a dress from his Sheridan 'Opal' print bed linen. Kendal studied with fellow West Australian and good friend, Michelle Jank at East Sydney Design Studio. They shared the King Gee Design Award for Best Range of the Year in 1999. Six months after graduating, Kendal was selling his designs internationally. He started with 60 tops and skirts made from hand painted silks by Mary Shackman and sold to Collette in Paris, Selfridges in London, Henri Bendel, New York, Villa Moda in Dubai and Kuwait and was the first Australian label on sale in Jeffrey's, New York. Locally, Kendal designs could be purchased from DSS SYDNEY, Belinda Sydney and Le Louvre in Melbourne.
Kendal's collaboration with Mary began when he asked her if they could make frocks together after receiving for his birthday a Cubist silk wall hanging painted by Mary. Mary loved the idea. Kendal readily acknowledges the support given to him by Shackman.
Kendal formed THYS Collective (pronounced This) in February 1998, his second year of college, as a concept based label designing and manufacturing a collective of products and launched his first clothing collection in May 2000. T by THYS, a diffusion range aimed at a younger, more edgy market was launched in May 2001 and 2004 saw the formation of THYS is BASIC.
Anthony Kendal designs are eclectic - geometric prints, abstract, bold or flowing; they are always vibrant and eye-catching. Kendal has a unique approach to colour and fabrics relying on precision tailoring to achieve a clean line. Kendal credits his mother, a former model, for his love of Swedish design and clean lines. Kendal likens his designs to "a form of artwork that is anything but commercial... Creating special, limited edition pieces is my focus and that will never change. It's more personal for the woman wearing it."
Kendal has been a consultant to Hermes Paris, Vogue Australia, Harpers Bazaar Australia, Marcus Sydney and the Elle Boutique.
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, Vicki. 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. They designed a range of bold, colourful large scale designs which 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 is also involved in a raft of activities outside her own work-she has actively nurtured young fashion designers, been involved in promotional events for the restoration of Oxford Street Paddington and donated paintings for fundraising event for causes ranging from the RSPCA to the Starlight Foundation.