Love is in the air at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery

Love is in the air at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor, where staff are working towards the opening of Here Comes the Bride, an exhibition which opens on Friday, 10 February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  It will run until Sunday, 26 March 2017.

Joan Hegarty, 1961 (Hawkesbury Regional Museum Collection)According to Gallery Director, Diana Robson, visitors can look forward to a selection of stunning bridal gowns from the Darnell collection and the Hawkesbury Regional Museum Collection, as well as bridal accessories and even some prize-winning wedding cakes. There will also be a wall display of wedding photos from members of the community.

“The wedding dress is arguably the most important dress a married woman ever wears, and what it says about the wearer and her times makes it the ultimate fashion statement,” Diana said.

“We are very grateful to Charlotte Smith, owner and curator of the Darnell Collection, for making this wonderful show possible.”

Doris Darnell was a Quaker from Pennsylvania, who pursued her passion for fashion by collecting vintage clothes and accessories for over 70 years. For Doris, the social history behind the items was as important as the items themselves, and preserving them and their stories for future generations became an important part of her passion. The Darnell Collection grew out of donations and gifts from her family's wider circle of friends and acquaintances around the world. Importantly, most of the items came with accompanying letters, photographs and stories which linked them to the original owners or donors and often to the occasions to which they were worn.

Blue Mountains resident, Charlotte Smith inherited the collection in 2004. It has continued to grow through further bequests to over 8000 pieces representing 32 different countries and is considered the largest private vintage clothing collection in Australia.

But is it art?

Eleanor Chase, who married Charles Taft, US President Taft’s youngest son, in 1917 (Darnell Collection).“Of course it's not.” Diana said.

“It’s fashion, which is not to say that fashion, at its best, is not a suitable subject for galleries or that it cannot share some of the attributes of art.

“On the contrary, an exquisite haute couture dress – like the ones we will be showing as part of this exhibition – can look as perfect as a beautiful painting or sculpture.”

As part of the exhibition, the gallery will be hosting a high tea with Charlotte Smith, owner and curator of the Darnell Collection, on Thursday, 9 March. Bookings essential through Eventbrite or call (02) 4560 4441.

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