Kay Inverarity’s costume exhibition

Kay Invararitys costume exhibition

Royalty and Others is an historic costume exhibition on at Auburn, in South Australia’s Clare Valley. We just got home from visiting it.

It’s a charming exhibition. There are about 17 costumes, all with a medieval or Victoriana theme, and all except one were made by Kay for various events. As well as the costumes there is fabric, accessories and framed prints adding to the ambience.

I was actually the only person at the exhibition (well, it was noon on Mother’s Day – everyone else was doing Mother’s Day lunch) and I expected to look around quietly by myself. However, Kay herself and her mother Mavis happened to be there (probably having lunch), so I got an unofficial guided tour and the chance to ask plenty of questions. Kay is a highly experienced costume maker, with a wealth of knowledge on historical eras and so fascinating to talk to!

Kay Invararitys costume exhibition Kay and Mavis
Here’s Kay (in black) and Mavis (in red). The blue dress was actually Kay’s wedding dress at her themed wedding, and Mavis (who trained in fashion in Birmingham) made the brown dress to wear as mother of the bride.

Kay uses a wide variety of fabrics, from interesting sources, to give the right “feel” to the era. Some of the dress are made from furnishing fabrics and some from vintage saris and other Indian fabrics.

Some of the trims are rather fabulous and clearly a labor of love. Four metres of black silk fringing on Queen Victoria’s dress was hand-loomed by Kay and then beaded. Another dress had chain stitched embroidered trim done on a child’s sewing machine. Great trouble is also taken to get the correct hat, accessories, jewelry and regalia.

There was an afternoon tea tableau, with a space to sit and have tea.

Kay Invararitys costume exhibition tea table
With my favourite 10 year old, pretending to eat pretend cakes.

Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos but Kay had some postcards. I just wish you could see all the details.

Kay Invararitys costume exhibition postcard 1
These are the two dresses above that Kay and Mavis wore.

Kay Invararitys costume exhibition postcard 2
The green dress on the left was one of Kay’s early costumes and the two boy’s costumes were worn by her sons.

Costume exhibitions are few and far between in this part of the world, so do visit if you’re nearby. If you enjoy fabric, sewing and fashion details there’s plenty to interest you. Are you coming from Adelaide? The Linhay Gallery is on the main road through Auburn, opposite the BP service station.



  1. Michelle Shaffer on May 12, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Truly amazing!

    • lizhaywood on May 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm

      Yes, it was a feast for the eyes!

Leave a Comment