Dress & Textile Historian
"New Zealand Fashion Design"
I am a dress and textile historian with a background in decorative arts and design. My interest in dress studies was sparked during my undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland. Following a post-graduate museum studies course at Sydney University I worked in the curatorial sector for more than 25 years: firstly at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney (1984-1988); then at the Auckland Museum (1988-2001) and finally at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (2001-2010). In 2014 NZUK Link funding helped me undertake research in the UK for the V&A Museum. My research was for the book London Couture 1923 – 1975: British Luxury (published in 2015) which was the first book to examine, in detail, the luxurious garments produced by the rarefied London couture industry – from lavish ballgowns to sharply tailored suits and spectacular court dress – as well as the designers who conceived them, their clients and the prestigious publications that disseminated and promoted the ‘London Look’ to an international audience. Expert authors from around the world delved into museum collections, as well as the archives of prestigious designers, textile suppliers and fashionable journals, to bring together a pioneering study of the London couture houses of the Twentieth Century.