9 February 2016
The National Gallery of Victoria today announced the acquisition of one of the world's most sought-after fashion collections.
The collection includes the most significant French haute couture ever to be acquired by an Australian museum, with works by Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin, and an outstanding fashion research archive including rare workbooks and photography by Yves Saint Laurent and Madame Grès.
Developed over several decades by Parisian collector and former Givenchy couturier Dominique Sirop, the $1.4 million Dominique Sirop Collection was purchased and generously donated to the NGV by major donor and NGV Foundation Board member Mrs Krystyna Campbell-Pretty, in memory of Mr Harold Campbell-Pretty.
The 130 works in the highly-coveted collection represent more than thirty different fashion designers from 1800-2003 and has a transformative effect on the NGV's Fashion and Textiles Collection. It includes a staggering 11 gowns by Christian Dior including a highly-prized couture dress from his first ever collection, as well as 12 exquisite works designed by Coco Chanel, including rare 1920s-era gowns, draped Grecian-style sheaths by Madame Grès and stunning examples from the father of haute couture Charles Frederick Worth.
Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, "We are deeply grateful to Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for her extraordinary generosity and ongoing support of the NGV Collection. As the largest acquisition of French haute couture in the NGV's history, this donation further cements the NGV's Fashion and Textiles Collection as the most significant fashion collection in Australia."
Other pieces in The Dominque Sirop Collection include a feathered evening cape, embellished ball gowns and bias-cut silk sheaths by highly desirable and influential French couture designers, such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Paul Poiret, Jean Patou and Jeanne Paquin, the majority of which were designed between 1890 and 1960.
The fashion research archive donated as part of the acquisition includes original fashion designs and couture house workbooks by Jeanne Lanvin, fashion photography from Paris fashion houses including Balenciaga and rare fashion magazines including coveted early issues of Gazette du Bon Ton, Vogue and L'Officiel.