A Sense of Occasion: 50 Years of Party Dresses

Rockhampton Art Gallery
A Touring Exhibition Drawn from the Darnell Collection
5 April – 13 May
Daily 10am-4pm, Closed on public holidays
Event Cost: Free
Address: 62 Victoria Parade, Rockhampton QLD 4700
Contact Telephone: 07 4936 8248
photo by kurt hutton
A sense of occasion is an exhibition of ball gowns and cocktail dresses from the 1920s to the 1960s drawn from the Darnell Collection, NSW. Each decade will be represented by a variety of day and evening party dresses and a selection of hats, handbags, shoes and jewellery to fit the theme of each era. The collection of gowns from France, United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand will explore each era, social history, famous designers, style influences and inspirations. Sections in the exhibition will include The Roaring 20s, Hollywood glamour, Dior’s ‘New Look’, Debutantes dress for Society and ‘Mad Men’ cocktail hour.Doris Darnell, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, USA, began collecting costume in the 1940s with items spanning from the Regency period to the 1980s. Quaker doctrine opposes following fashion and collecting, but Darnell circumvented this rule by wearing many of the items given to her. Charlotte Smith inherited her godmother Doris's collection in 2004. It has continued to grow through further bequests to over 5500 pieces representing 23 different countries and is considered the largest private vintage clothing collection in Australia. Included are many internationally recognised 20th century designers such as Lucile, Vionnet, Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Pucci, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Westwood, Versace and Dolce & Gabana among many other names.