Posted on 26 May 2016
“In a room of beautiful creations from contemporary designers, the MATERIALBYPRODUCT piece was the standout. All the garments in the room were beautiful, desirable and wearable. The MBP piece was more than this: it was intriguing, demanding contemplation of its inspiration and beauty.” Financial services executive and a client writing about the MATERIALBYPRODUCT outfit currently exhibiting at 200 Years of Australian Fashion, Ian Potter Centre NGV until 31 July.
I was lucky enough to receive permission to quote these beautiful words from one of my patrons. It helped me consolidate my presentation for the NGV Women's Association Annual Seminar: “Art is Fashion” on 20 April 2016. The organisers of the seminar, Georgie Lynch and Johanna Weir, were visionary in their invitation for me to bring a little bit of the MBP salon – the dressing and undressing ritual –to the seminar stage. Participating in the seminar gave me an opportunity to reflect on the MATERIALBYPRODUCT journey over the past 13 years: from my academic underpinnings to directing a modern-day, working Collins Street atelier.
I have long been consumed with the creation of heritage House from the foundation level up. As a consequence of all the activity celebrating the landmark NGV exhibition, 200 Years of Australian Fashion, I have been pondering the broader question of what shapes Melbourne heritage?
I posed this question to the group of 25 women who visited my atelier on Sunday, 22 May as a part of the NGV walking tour: “Undressing Melbourne.” I also posed it again to a private party of my own on the same day and with whom I did a reverse walking tour, which started at the gallery and concluded at the atelier. Nobody actually gave me a response. Despite my prompts the guestbook remained bare and no comments have been posted on social media as yet.
However, I think an atelier that receives over 40 people on a Sunday in May, with some returning for the Special Private Viewing to place their custom orders with the House, answers the question.
What shapes Melbourne heritage are the people who embrace their city’s cultural producers and makers.
Thank you Melbourne. Thank you MATERIALBYPRODUCT patrons.