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Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: ‘Step Into Paradise’ exhibition

In 1973 Jenny Kee opened her Flamingo Park store in the Strand Arcade. ‘Step into Paradise’ was the sign that hung on the door. The shop was described as “romantic, exotic and kitsch” by Jenny – a riot of colour, texture, and pattern. It showcased vintage clothing finds from London, Linda Jackson’s unique creations, and Jenny’s famous knits.

The exhibition is showing at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney until 22 March 2020. It celebrates the creative partnership between these two inspiring Australian fashion designers as well as their individual achievements in the fashion world. Over 150 garments, textiles, photographs, and artworks are on display. These items give us an in-depth insight into their design style, sources of inspiration and creative evolution.

Flamingo Park was a ‘must-see’ destination in the 70s and 80s. Famous visitors included David Bowie, Christie Brinkley, Lauren Bacall, and Olivia Newton-John. They were a global sensation! Local and international celebrities wore their clothes. Remember the media frenzy when Princess Diana wore the Jenny Kee koala jumper to a polo match in 1982?

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson’s creations were brightly coloured, heavily patterned or both. They were inspired by everything iconically Australian. Years spent exploring the bush, especially in and around the Blue Mountains, influenced their Australian flora and fauna themes. Other sources of inspiration were semi-precious stones like opals, Australian landmarks, and indigenous art.

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the fabulous outfits on display.

Step Into Paradise: the store

Mock up of Jenny Kee's Flamingo Park store in Sydney circa 1973

Mockup of Jenny Kee’s Flamingo Park store in Sydney, 1973

 

Bright pink, over-sized knitted top with Jenny Kee motif on the back.

Bright pink, over-sized knitted top with Jenny Kee motif on the back. Mannequins in 50’s style outfits on the right.

 

Glamorous evening gowns inside the mockup of Jenny Kee's store, Flamingo Park.

Glamorous evening gowns inside the mockup of Jenny Kee’s store, Flamingo Park.

 

Three dresses from the Flamingo Park store circa 1973

Three dresses from the Flamingo Park store circa 1973

 

Australian Themes

Hand knitted wattle dresses 1978

Hand knitted wattle dresses 1978

 

Jenny Kee Waratah dress

Waratah dress

 

Three garments featuring Australian wildflower motifs and boomerangs.

Australian wildflower themes with hearts and boomerangs

 

Three Jenny Kee hand knits in earthy colours.

Hand knitted pieces in earthy tones. Intarsia knits. The Australian bush inspired these scribbly bark and leaf patterns.

 

Two outfits that feature water themes, dolphins and fish.

Celebrating the ocean and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

 

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Bold Colour and Pattern Statements

Jenny Kee mannequin wears her iconic red glasses and densely patterned scarf and jumper.

Jenny Kee mannequin wears her iconic red glasses and densely patterned scarf and jumper.

 

Mannequins wearing colourful dresses.

Beads, feathers, ruffles, and striking colours.

 

Mannequin wears an bright, bold outfit featuring large rounded shapes.

Bright, saturated colours and large shapes make this outfit anything but ‘beige’.

 

Asian inspired jacket with pointy, exaggerated shoulders and appliqué.

Asian inspired jacket with pointy, exaggerated shoulders and appliqué.

 

Ethnic Themes

An outfit from Linda Jackson’s ‘Indigo’ collection. Ethnic patterns.

An outfit from Linda Jackson’s ‘Indigo’ collection

 

Outfits feature beading and vivid colours

Beading, vivid colours, triangular and diamond shapes give these outfits an African feel. Colourful organic shapes reference Australian opals.

 

Jenny Kee 'Harvest Goddess' costume designed for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000

Jenny Kee ‘Harvest Goddess’ costume designed for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000

Portraits of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson

Mixed media portraits (drawing and paper collage) of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson were a fitting way to end the exhibition.

Portrait of Australian fashion designer, Jenny Kee.

Jenny Kee

Portrait of Australian fashion designer, Linda Jackson.

Linda Jackson

Would you like to see more photos of amazing outfits and jewellery from fashion designer and artist exhibitions? Here are links to Dior, Cartier, Guo Pei, Hermes, Frieda Kahlo Museum, Viktor & Rolf.

Sticky
Mar 02, 2020

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