Old empire and new global luxury: Fashioning global design

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Global Design History, 2011, 1, pp. 138 - 149
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In 1989, Brisbane-based fashion designers Pam Easton and Lydia Pearson began to create from an Australian provincial city their range of garments that were deliberately nostalgic and feminine, with an air of knowing retrospection generated through an engagement with historical and ethnographic sources. At first they were not widely known, their market was completely local, and sometimes they were misunderstood. Within ten years their female clothing-line, manufactured in Brisbane, made of textiles garnered from Italy, France, Vietnam and India, was retailing in Browns, London; Neiman Marcus, USA; and Alta Moda, Kuwait. An engagement with ethnographic sources by contemporary designers is not uncommon, sometimes amounting to a type of scavenging activity, perhaps Baudelairian 'rag-picking' to be more poetic and polite. Within Easton Pearson's design imagination, traditional designs are not simply copied, but rather amended, to create new allusions and aesthetics. In going to the 'source' of ethnic textiles and re-commissioning in India fabrics that had not been produced in some cases for decades, their practice raises questions about authenticity, intervention and revival.
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