Fashion from fleece: 200 years of Australian wool in fashion

Diana: a celebration

Model Penny Pardey wearing Pierre Cardin dress.
Model Penny Pardey wearing Pierre Cardin dress, photo by Henry Talbot, Paris, 1967, on display in Fashion
from fleece
. Collection: Powerhouse Museum. © Lynette Talbot.

Patons Wool. Magazine clipping
Patons Wool. Magazine clipping
1969.

25 July - 22 August

Australian wool has come a long way. Two hundred years after the first bale of wool was exported to England, Australia has become the world’s leading producer of fine Merino wool - generating half a billion kilograms of fleece a year.

Fashion from fleece: 200 years of Australian wool in fashion is a unique exhibition that looks back at two dynamic centuries of Australian wool in fashion, retail, and global trade.

Open from July 25 to August 22, 2007 at the Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St Ultimo, Sydney, Fashion from Fleece showcases vintage and contemporary fashion from leading local and international designers.

It charts the journey of Australian Merino from the pastoral boom to the high-tech fabric innovations of today.

Soft, light and versatile, wool evolved from a fibre used primarily in uniforms and workwear, to a leader on the world fashion stage used by designers such as Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Christian Dior and Collette Dinnigan.

The exhibition includes samples of work by these and other leading international designers and historical material ranging from a simple jacket of convict Australia made from coarse felted wool to a 1880s wedding gown of wool and silk satin.


Fashion from fleece: 200 years of Australian wool in fashion is not simply a history of wool, but of dress and fashion, the aesthetics of design, and the tastes and mores of western society.

The Australian wool industry continues to progress into the 21st century, becoming even more economical, implementing safer and more efficient practices, creating new technologies, innovative textiles, and finer and softer fleeces.

The exhibition coincides with
Sydney Design 07, one of Australia’s premier design events. An annual Powerhouse Museum initiative, Sydney Design showcases home-grown and international talent from a broad range of design practices. Speakers from the Australian fashion industry will give presentations throughout the festival.

Photographic prints and transparencies fashion photography. Henry Talbot Australia 1950-1970, colour transparencies for Australian Wool Board, Henry Talbot, Goroka, Papua New Guinea C1968.
Photographic prints and
transparencies fashion photography. Henry Talbot Australia 1950-1970,
colour transparencies for Australian
Wool Board, Henry Talbot, Goroka,
Papua New Guinea © 1968. Model Gill Hamilton