In this feature, a selection of guest contributors respond to an image or material artefact (typically a garment or accessory), that represents Queensland fashion. Each item is specifically chosen by The Fashion Archives in collaboration with collections and with a particular contemporary practitioner in mind. As a result, each Remember of Revive is a bespoke response and can take many formats and styles.
Alice Payne is a designer and academic interested in fashion and sustainability, and is currently based at QUT. The Fashion Archives invited Alice to view a collection of original Paula Stafford designs in the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Society museum. Here she found a range of garments that exemplify Stafford’s approach to design, including reversible bikinis and outfits. Alice has created a series of illustrations and accompanying text to tell Stafford’s story, as well as a number of new textile designs inspired by her work.
What most attracted you to Stafford’s designs?
The element of Stafford’s designs I was most drawn to was the clever reversible aspect of many of her garments. One resort ensemble included a wrap skirt, light jacket and matching bodice. The jacket and skirt were pale blue on one side with a dusky brown print on the other and were both fully reversible. The jacket particularly appealed to me. Her bikinis were famously reversible as well.
You’ve produced a series of illustrations as well as a textile print design inspired by Stafford. How did you approach your response?
I enjoyed reading the articles in the archive about Stafford and her business, and seeing the unexpected materials she used. This prompted me to write a short illustrated narrative summing up the aspects I appreciated of her story. I began to focus on developing a textile print that captured some of Stafford’s story. I took my drawing of the girl in the bikini and adapted it into a line drawing, then added flat bright colours.
Tell us a little more about the steps involved in creating and producing a textile design…
I experimented with the print scale and colourways. One scale is blown right up to a macro scale while the other is a more conventional smaller scale repeat where you can see the full figures. I had swatches of each print digitally printed onto organic cotton sateen to check the colours.
What applications do you imagine for the print design?
I imagine the print could be used to make a little reversible jacket with an all-in-one sleeve and oversize buttons. One side could be a smaller scale of the print, the other side the macro-scale version. The pale green print needs more work to get the scale, colours and motif placement right, but it’s on the way.
To me the print captures some of the fun and colour of Stafford’s designs, and the two versions allow for the reversible aspect that her garments were known for.
Alice’s Reading List:
- Schmidt, Christine. 2010. “Against the Grain: Australia and the Swimsuit.” In Australian Fashion Unstitched : The Last 60 Years, edited by Bonnie English and Liliana Pomazan, 153 – 173. Port Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.
- Everybody’s, May 24, 1967, p. 11(Collection of GCHHS-SP)
- Time Out Sydney. 2007. “Aub Laidlaw”. http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/the-bridge/features/1303/7-aub-laidlaw. Accessed December 1 2013.
- Gold Coast Sun, June 16 1967, p. 3 (Collection of GCHHS-SP).
- Maynard, Margaret. 2000. Out of Line : Australian Women and Style. Sydney: UNSW Press. p. 156.
- Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Society – Surfers Paradise. Visiting hours and map here: http://heritage.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/For-researchers-and-educators/community-museums-and-local-history-groups/the-gold-coast-hinterland-historical-museum.
Published in Issue 11, on March 25, 2014.