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Exhibition at Melbourne Museum highlights six Melbourne fashion figures
Prue Acton’s burgundy velvet mini jacket won an award at the Australian Wool Board fashion awards in coat, c. 1968. © Athol Shmith. Courtesy of Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art and RMIT Design Archive.

MELBOURNE.- Sometimes, hearing ‘you can’t do that!’ can be the perfect provocation to show what you’re really made of. A new exhibition opening at Melbourne Museum in March 2018 will highlight six Melbourne fashion figures who heard ‘you can’t’ and showed that they could.

The stories of influential models and designers Stella Dare, Prue Acton, Lois Briggs, Jenny Bannister, Christopher Graf and Andreja Pejić demonstrate how they turned oppositioned into opportunity, and in doing so, left their mark on Australian and international fashion.

You Can't Do That will open at Melbourne Museum on March 2 as part of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival's 2018 esteemed Arts Program.

From Stella Dare’s lavish suits that broke away from war austerity in the 1950s, to Andreja Pejić's journey from a Broadmeadows refugee to a transgender supermodel, You Can't Do That charts the success of true originals in fashion.

Graeme Lewsey, CEO, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival said You Can’t Do That Out provides a compelling cultural experience for Festival visitors.

"After two years of using the stunning backdrop of the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum precinct, we are thrilled and proud to be working with the creative teams within Museums Victoria to bring the stories and history of groundbreaking fashion figures to the Festival’s Arts Program."

You Can't Do That is Melbourne Museum’s first exhibition co-presented with the Festival.

Michael Reason, Curator, Museums Victoria said that You Can't Do That enables visitors to get an insight into the influential figures that create fashion rather than follow it.

"You Can’t Do That shines a spotlight on six influential figures who’ve created memorable fashion moments through the decades, starting in the 1950s and incorporating a remarkable story of today. Displays styled as shop windows within the exhibition will follow their unique paths to success and capture the spirit of the time, with original garments from the designers and footage from catwalks, both old and new, on display."

To win a double pass to the invitation-only launch event in March 2018, Melbourne Museum is asking you to submit your memories, stories or photos of fashions created by any of the You Can’t Do That designers. Do you have a photo in a frock by Jenny Bannister, Prue Acton, Christopher Graf or Stella Dare, or a memory of coveting one of their designs? Enter online or post to social media with the hashtag #youcantdothat2018. Entries have the chance to be included in the exhibition.

You Can't Do That is at Melbourne Museum in collaboration with Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival from 2 March 2018 – 15 July 2018. Tickets included with museum entry.

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