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After Five: Fashion From The Darnell Collection

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by Wendy (subscribe)
Art enthusiast. Loves painting, bushwalking and travels. Writing what I love sparks my passion. Sydney, Australia.
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Presented by the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, After Five: Fashion From The Darnell Collection showcases the changing fashion from 1920s to present. Drawn from the largest private collection of vintage clothing in Australia, the exhibition displays a wonderful collection of beautiful cocktail dresses, evening wear and a small collection of accessories like hats, shoes and handbags.

After Five: Fashion From The Darnell Collection at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery
After Five: Fashion From The Darnell Collection at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery

Doris Darnell, from Pennsylvania, collected items of clothing worn by her wealthy friends and acquaintances. In 2004 Charlotte Smith, her goddaughter inherited half of her collection. Drawn from the Darnell collection, this exhibition is not just simply about fashion; it is a fascinating journey to catch a glimpse of how social environment has changed the woman fashion over 90 years. You can see a collection of over 30 beautiful outfits from around the world including famous designers Dior, Mary Quan, Pucci to little known designers.

Interestingly, you can also see how the design of evening dresses has evolved; from full-length to knee-length dresses, and use of different fabrics such as silk, velvet, sequins and wool in the dress making, embellished with beading and embroidery. I was particularly drawn to Mary Quant's little black dress as it is what most women adore. You may also wander how the evening dress would look like during the war time when fabric was rationed and embellishment was restrained. This was indeed a testament to the designers; the evening dresses are still crafted elegantly though they may look less glamorous compared to other era.

If you would like to know more about the exhibition and hear some stories behind the dresses, you can join the guided tours, which are available on Sundays at 2 pm. Additionally, special guided tours are available on Mother's Day, Sunday 12 May, 11.30 am and 2.30 pm.

Hazelhurst Gallery Cafe
Hazelhurst Gallery Cafe

The Gallery has a terrace cafe overlooking the gardens, where you can enjoy lunch or afternoon tea after visiting the exhibition. The Gallery Cafe is about 40 minutes drive from Sydney's CBD. Alternatively, you can take a train to Gymea and the gallery is just a five-minute walk from Gymea Railway Station (Illawarra line).
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Why? A rare opportunity to view a stunning collection of vintage fashion over 90 years
When: Mon - Sun: 9am - 5pm
Phone: 02 8536 5700
Where: 782 Kingsway Gymea NSW
Cost: Free admission
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