Part of the Powerhouse Museum has been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour for Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise, a major retrospective that opened today.
It’s the first survey exhibition of the Australian designers’ influential work in fashion, which has spanned more than four decades. The pair are known for their vivid Australiana prints and equally lively personalities.
The exhibition traces the artists’ formative years, including Kee’s time in London and Jackson’s travels through the Pacific, Asia and Europe. Their creative partnership began in the 1970s when Kee started stocking Jackson’s designs at her Flamingo Park Frock Salon in the Strand Arcade, but they both also achieved fame separately throughout their individual careers.
Together, they created a range of now-iconic wool jumpers featuring Australian flora and fauna, including a koala number donned by Princess Diana in 1982. They’ve been recognised for bringing Australian design and emblems to the world, and have both been named Officers in the Order of Australia.
There are more than 150 items of clothing, photographs and artworks on display, including behind-the-scenes photos of their work; Kee’s Chanel suit from Karl Lagerfield’s first collection for the house; and a Waratah dress by Jackson.
The show will also immerse visitors in the influences and inspirations for each piece. Elements of the Australian bush, the Great Barrier Reef, opals and waratahs will be brought to life in the exhibition space.