Kim Withers with a fascinator which is currently on display as part of the Jewellers and Milliners exhibition at the Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Kim Withers with a fascinator which is currently on display as part of the Jewellers and Milliners exhibition at the Rockhampton Art Gallery. Chris Ison ROK170817cfashion1

Hat's off: Rocky designers' amazing fashion pieces on show

UNTIL the turn of the last Century, women's fashion was centred on bespoke, ornate and precisely fitted garments.

Rockhampton Art Gallery are taking inspiration from the days before mass-made, off-the-rack clothing and accessories to feature eye-catching designs by Central Queensland artists and creators.

By day, Kim Withers is an accountant, but in her spare time for the past decade she's busy making millinery for the women of Rockhampton for her business Art of the Hat.

Her stunning designs have even made it to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, featured at Oakes Day millinery award in 2014.

Now locals can get a taste for her wearable art, with pieces on show at the gallery complementing the colours and styles of the Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography from Conde Nast, running in the ground floor of the building.

It's the second time Kim's work has been displayed at the gallery, something she is thrilled about.

Kim Withers competed at Oaks Day's invitation only Myer Fashions on the Field Millinery Award in 2014. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Kim Withers competed at Oaks Day's invitation only Myer Fashions on the Field Millinery Award in 2014. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka ROK021114ahat2

Kim spent six weeks researching and putting together the four pieces featured in the exhibition, experimenting with a range of materials including plastics and feathers.

"A milliner is someone who makes all the individual components of the hat,” she said.

"It's taking those basic, raw materials and creating something out of it.”

The amount of work involved in each piece varies based on the look Kim is trying to create or, more often, the demands of the client.

"Sometimes they'll take five or six of hours, other hats literally take days to build and put together,” she said.

"A lot of customers come to me with a piece already in mind or they've got their outfit, they might have their dress or they might have a bag and they love the print on the bag and we work with whatever they've got to create something they're happy with.”

Jacqueline Curran with earrings on display at the Rockhampton Art Gallery as part of the Jewellers and Milliners: Rockhampton's Fashion Makers exhibition.
Jacqueline Curran with earrings on display at the Rockhampton Art Gallery as part of the Jewellers and Milliners: Rockhampton's Fashion Makers exhibition. Chris Ison ROK170817cfashion2

Jacqueline Curran's on-trend tassel earrings are a small taste of top design.

Utilising leftover dressmaking items, the freelance fashion designer took her first step into jewellery making.

"I tend to design a lot of stand-out, occasion pieces, so I've done that on a smaller scale for jewellery with statement earrings, something that can jazz up an outfit really easily.”

Jewellers and Milliners: Rockhampton's fashion makers runs at the Rockhampton Art Gallery until October 22.



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