Designers rewarded with a place in history

For those of us still lamenting the demise of the Easton Pearson fashion label and who are still looking for stylish fashion inspiration, fear not.

Thanks to the generous gifting by philanthropist and contemporary art patron Dr Pail Eliadis, the 27-year archive of the label will remain in Queensland.

Pam Easton and Lydia Pearson’s design success and their contribution to the Australian fashion scene will be conserved for future generations.

With more than 3300 signature garments – plus accessories, original sketches, look books and parade footage – the archive has a permanent home at the Museum of Brisbane in City Hall.

At the announcement of the patronage last month, Lydia Pearson said: “It was incredibly important to keep it (the collection) in Brisbane. It’s our home, it’s where we built the brand.”

Both Pam and Lydia highlighted their love of working with the Brisbane artistic community when they first started.

“We felt it was the easiest and the most creative environment to start our business,” said Pam. Although it was initially hard to be accepted nationally because they came from Brisbane, the Sydney and Melbourne fashion fraternity soon realised the Queensland pair’s design genius and championed their entry into the international arena.

“When we started selling overseas it was such a novelty to be from Brisbane,” said Lydia.

After 27 years – or as Lydia quipped “that’s 189 in dog years” – the duo decided to call it a day and closed shop in 2016.

It became important to retain the archive and carefully conserve this local, national and international fashion treasure. And through the collaboration of the designers, patron, the Museum of Brisbane and curator, The Designer’s Guide: Easton Pearson Archive will open in November this year. However, the archive has been curatorially challenging.

Many of their textiles have been designed in collaboration with Indian artisans where embroidery, beading, print and textural components all require different techniques for conservation. Many of the garments have several of these techniques on individual garments.

In a world where these artisans and their expertise are  disappearing, The Easton Pearson Archive will be a legacy to hand-made and unique design and textile combinations. To support the exhibition the Museum of Brisbane has also initiated The Dress Circle where individuals can make monetary gifts to help conserve the collection.  Donations receive recognition and allow access to special events associated with the exhibition.

“The Easton Pearson Archive is the largest textile collection from a single Australian fashion house held by a museum or art gallery,” according to the Museum of Brisbane.

 For more information contact vjohnson@museumofbrisbane.com.au.

If you’d like to experience the world of Indian artisans that inspired some of Easton Pearson’s collections, check out Styleboomer Exquisite Indian Textile Tour. We’re heading off in February to India to visit people who design and create amazing textiles and clothing. With a small group we will see artisans still practising the famous Indian craft techniques.

 Visit goseetouring.com or email styleboomer@gmail.com for more.

Image: Lydia Pearson and Pam Easton whose work will be on display at Brisbane Museum.
Photo: Photos: David Kelly at Museum of Brisbane