Collette Dinnigan, “Unlaced” 

Collette Dinnigan “Unlaced” exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. The South-African Australian designer found early success with her commitment to French lace. This exhibition shows some of her most famous designs throughout her career and here you see works for clients such as Dita Von Teese, Nicole Kidman, and Helena Christensen.

“Antique lace dress,” Spring/Summer 1996 by Collette Dinnigan. (Made from silk with applique French lace.) 

In case you can’t hear and see in the background in the video below, there is a father here with his two daughters. The older daughter is incredulous: “How could you sit down in that dress? You can’t that’s why there’s no pictures of people wearing it.” The three of them film themselves walking up and down as if modeling on a catwalk. The dad gives them advice about how they could together recreate the sparkling room room you see here using materials from Bunnings (a ubiquitous hardware store in Australia).

It’s so wonderful when men can participate with delight in cultural ideas meant to be “for women.” Visual sociology is sometimes hard because it’s time consuming and tiring, but sometimes it’s hilarious because of what I hear and observe in public places.

Video 1 shows two darkened rooms with designer gowns, most are sparkly and made with lace. The first lot of dresses are black and see-through, and there are many monochrome dresses in the second room, made from black, white and beige fabrics. Visitors to the exhibition walk around in the background.

Video2: first, in a darkened room, many short sparkling dresses are twirling on display. In the second bright room, there are glass cases filled with objects such as flowers, drawings, beads, ribbons, fabrics, old photos, and “tropical” looking dresses and bikinis. There is also a close up of a letter from the Queen thanking Dinnigan for a design.