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99/6/2 Dress, womens, embroidered cotton, designed and made by Madge Gill, England, 1940s. Click to enlarge.

Dress by Madge Gill

Made
Jenny Kee collection of clothing, textiles, artwork and archive, Australia / England / Japan / Africa / USA 1967-1995

Jenny Kee (born Sydney 1947) is one of Australia's most important designers, best known for designing and retailing a unique range of colourful clothing and knitwear. One major theme links all aspects of this collection, Jenny Kee's love of Australia's unique natural environment. Her garments are a canvas for her artwork featuring images of native flora and fauna, the opal gem stone and urban icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

The Jenny Kee collection and archive was acquired by the museum in 1998 and 1999. They document the evolution of her clothing and textile designs, the creative process behind her designs, the development and management of her retail outlets Flamingo Park and Jenny Kee, the significant role she played in environmental activism in Australia and her public profile as a celebrity artist with-in the advertising industry.

The collection and archive document her life and work over twenty years and includes clothing and textiles by Jenny Kee as well as Kee's business partner Linda Jackson (b. 1950), original artwork for many of Kee's designs, business records, newspaper and magazine clippings, videos of parades, parade invitations, props and programmes, shop mannequins, shop signs, scrapbooks and posters.

The collection and archive not only records Jenny Kee's life and work, but also can be read as a document that charts important cultural changes in Australia. Kee was born in Bondi, to a Cantonese businessman father and Italian/British mother. An early newspaper clipping shows her modelling as the face of Canadian Airlines. In the 1960s, she, like many other young Australians, spent several years enjoying the creative atmosphere of 'Swinging London'. She returned to Australia in the early 1970s and attracted by the encouraging cultural climate of the new Whitlam led Labor government, decided to stay. Kee then opened her Flamingo Park' 'frock salon' in the Strand Arcade in Sydney selling her own designs as well as the work of other innovative designers like Linda Jackson, Peter Tully (1947-1992) and David McDiarmid (1952-1995). Many of the pieces sold through the shop are included in the collection as well as signage, programmes and videos of the lively parades she and Linda Jackson produced.

The collection preserves a unique record of this important designer's personal and professional career from the 1960s through to 1995.

Summary

Object No.

99/6/2

Object Statement

Dress, womens, embroidered cotton, designed and made by Madge Gill, England, 1940s

Physical Description

Womens dress with fitted bodice and full skirt made of embroidered beige cotton. The bodice has a high round neck and short sleeves. Gathered onto the waist is a full skirt that falls to mid calf length. The dress is heavily embroidered with large bold star motifs in polychrome wool threads. The neckline and hems of sleeves are trimmed with rows of wool embroidery in red, blue, yellow and scarlet. Handsewn and embroidered and unlined.

Marks

No marks

Dimensions

Width

445 mm

Production

Notes

Designed and made in the 1940s by Madge Gill, a famous English clairvoyant of the 1910-20s, who embroidered while in trances. For a reference to Gill's wider artistic practice see McDonald, J., 'Art Without A Skin From Private Hells', Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday June 24, 1995, Spectrum p 16A.

History

Notes

Worn by Jenny Kee. Kee's dress sense has always been very eclectic, mixing her own designs with historical pieces and outfits and accessories from a variety of different cultural groups.

This dress belonged to Madge Gill, a famous English clairvoyant who embroidered while in trances. Jenny Kee wore this dress in the 1960's while working with Vern Lambert selling vintage couture clothing at the Chelsea Antique Market in London. References see: De Teliga, J.,Introduction to 'Linda Jackson, The Art of Fashion', Fontana, Australia, 1987, p 11 and Neville, R., 'Hippy Hippy Shake', William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne, 1995, pp 130, 149.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1999

Acquisition Date

3 February 1999

Cite this Object

Harvard

Dress by Madge Gill 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 September 2020, <https://ma.as/167418>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/167418 |title=Dress by Madge Gill |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.