Traveling up a short flight of stairs from Melbourne’s Chapel Street was akin to stepping back in time. For the stairs gave way to a floor space on which people decked out in vintage fashions, some not too dissimilar from those we’re expecting to make a comeback in the new year, did more than mill and swill, they cavorted, swanned and jitterbugged.
All this post-war glamour, inclusive of several ladies who could have told you much about the period having been amongst Christian Dior’s original models, was in the name of fundraising. Designed to benefit the Prahran Mission, a charity that assists people living with mental illness and those living with financial hardships, the evening took in everything from a fashion parade to a silent auction. And it did it all with more than a hint of inspiration derived from Dior’s fashion house and the ‘New Look’ he gave to the world. After all, it was in the shadow of the Second World War that Dior took centre stage in the fashion industry, and it was the very same year that the Prahran Mission began to help those in need.
Showing how things had once been done, the evening’s fashion parade didn’t see models strut a catwalk as we now expect but instead move and engage with the audience in an open space. This salon style showing breathed life into each piece as it did in the yesteryear and might again soon should the likes of Tom Ford have their way. Vintage inspired it was, but showing only pieces from the period it didn’t. Instead Melbourne’s design talent, including the likes of Madam Virtue, Jenny Bannister, Anthony Capon and students from the Whitehouse Institute of Design, used the showing to highlight current season, re-interpreted, and reworked (one jacket began life as a pair of trousers) fashions all with an air of the earlier period. Rooted in the mid-1940s, some showed an influence of the 30s while others were retrospectively styled with the 1950s cuts that the 40s would transition in to.
You can see all the photos from the Mission 65 charity event by clicking on the thumbnails and browsing through the gallery. If you wish to find out more about Prahran Mission or offer them support, follow that link.