Blast from the Past: 1989 Prom night

Blast from the Past: 1989 Prom night

The 1960’s dress I wore to my Year 12 Formal/Prom night is on display in a clothes exhibition for History Month.  We went to the opening on the weekend.

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night me with my dress


The blurb reads:

“Sewing book author Liz Haywood wore this 1960’s dress to her year 12 formal in 1989, amist a sea of 80’s hair and ruched taffeta.  She wore it with red high heels, and her date wore a matching red cummerbund and bow tie.

Liz bought the dress from The Banana Room, a second hand clothes shop in Adelaide, which has since closed.

The dress is home made.  The front neckline is very high and tends to cut into one’s neck when sitting down, so all the more reason to stay out on the dance floor!”


Here I am wearing it on the night, back in 1989:

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night with friends

My closed-mouth smile is hiding a mouthful of braces.  In case you’re wondering, no, the dress doesn’t fit me anymore; I had a growth spurt when I was 18.  Maybe my own girls will wear it.


A special part of this exhibition is the photographs that accompany most of the outfits.  It adds a “step back in time” dimension to what would otherwise just be a roomful of clothes.

The oldest exhibit is a bustle-backed mauve dress with lace and ostrich feather trim, from 1875-76.  It’s loaned by the original wearer’s granddaughter.

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night very oldest dress


Some of the exhibition’s clothes are professionally sewn but many are home made.  There’s a table of children’s clothes made using Enid Gilchrist patterns.  Some have since been worn by the original owner’s grandchildren.  The red coat has bound buttonholes.

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night Enid Gilchrist clothes


There are some dresses made for South Australia’s Jubilee 150 celebrations in 1986.  This was a Big Deal and many people made colonial clothes to wear to events (we didn’t though).

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night jubilee 150 dress


There is some wedding and wedding guest attire.  I met the happy couple in the photo (top right) at the exhibition’s opening.  The matching lemon lace bridesmaid’s dress was worn by the bride’s sister.

 Prom night Moore's wedding


More wedding clothes…worn by the curator and her groom on their wedding day.

Blast form the Past 1989 Prom night Hellens wedding outfit


It’s a charming exhibition with a very personal flavour.

If you’re driving through South Australia’s Clare Valley or live nearby, do visit.  It’s in the Linhay Gallery, Auburn (on the main road through the town, opposite the BP service station) until the 28th of May.



In other news, Me-Made-May has started; take a look on Instagram.



  1. Kay on May 8, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I remember making the fuschia dress and little jacket in the pic. My first go at boning. that was a long time ago.

    • lizhaywood on May 8, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Hi Kay, JT told me the other day she still had that outfit. Your granddaughter might fit into it now!

  2. carolyn on March 2, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Oh lovely! You were very counter cultural with your gorgeous sleek 60s outfit and glossy hair in all that 80s froth! (Must be a milestone birthday for you this year? Happy birthday!)

    • lizhaywood on March 2, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      I didn’t think I was counter cultural at the time, but I remember I definitely didn’t want to wear what everyone else was. Yep, we’re all turning 50 this year!

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