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