Former editor-in-chief of Vogue shared her fashion insights

FASHION FLAIR: Darnell Collection owner and curator Charlotte Smith and former Vogue editor-in-chief Kirstie Clements with some of the striking designs on show in the Rockhampton Art Gallery exhibition, Some Kind of Wonderful: 80s Fashion from the Darnell Collection.
FASHION FLAIR: Darnell Collection owner and curator Charlotte Smith and former Vogue editor-in-chief Kirstie Clements with some of the striking designs on show in the Rockhampton Art Gallery exhibition, Some Kind of Wonderful: 80s Fashion from the Darnell Collection. Allan Reinikka Rokaartfash

BOLD, dynamic and voluminous is how Kirstie Clements describes fashion from the 80s.

The best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Australia magazine shared her fascinating fashion insights in Rockhampton on Friday night.

She visited the city as part of the accompanying program for the Rockhampton Art Gallery's current exhibition - Some Kind of Wonderful: 80s Fashion from the Darnell Collection.

She was joined by Charlotte Smith, owner and curator of the Darnell Collection, Australia's largest private collection of vintage clothing and accessories.

About 30 stunning pieces are on show in Some Kind of Wonderful, along with a host of accessories.

The exhibition explores the artistic and performative aspects of fashion from power-dressed glamour to body-con lines and new romantic club style from designers such as Chanel, Armani and Oscar de la Renta. It also examines the impact of art, music, design and popular culture on one of fashion's most influential and exciting decades.

Charlotte said the 80s was a decade which had not received a huge amount of coverage to date.

"What we wanted to do was tell the story of what was going on in the 80s, all the different styles in the 80s, but showing it wasn't all about big shoulder pads and leg warmers and fluffy hair with hair bands," she said.

"There are some major designers here. It just shows that when you are looking at the high-end side of fashion, it doesn't matter what decade, it's as beautiful as some of the decades that everyone loves like the 50s and the 20s and the 30s."

Kirstie said 80s fashion was very confident and bold in terms of ornamentation of the fabric.

"It was really dynamic," she said. "The 80s was definitely about the proportion - everything had volume."

Some Kind of Wonderful was created specifically for the Rockhampton Art Gallery and is on show until Sunday, June 29.

Kirstie and Charlotte said their collaboration was all about fashion from different perspectives.

Both women agreed that fashion did tend to go full circle.

"Most definitely," Kirstie said. "It comes back around but always with a twist to keep it fresh and keep us all interested. That's the fun of fashion."


The Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture is Australia's largest private clothing collection spanning the Regency period to today and features a host of Australian and international designers.

The core of the collection was put together by Doris Darnell, a Quaker from Pennsylvania who, from the 1930s, gathered together items of clothing worn by her wealthy friends and acquaintances.

In 2004 Doris bequeathed half her collection to her goddaughter, Charlotte Smith.

Since inheriting the collection, Charlotte has continued to develop her holdings, which now numbers more than 8000 items.

Topics:  fashion rockhampton art gallery

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