Graeme and I enjoyed a terrific afternoon at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum where two of the current exhibitions were right up our street: exhibitions featuring fashions and photographs from Kylie Minogue and about the fiftieth anniversary of television in Australia.
The Kylie exhibition came about through a large donation to the Victorian Arts Centre (I think) of dresses, illustrations, production notes, etc by Kylie herself. The donation has been transformed into an exhibition which features a range of Kylie’s well known clothing including, spectacularly, the 50p gold pants bought at an op-shop and then made famous in “Spinning Around” and the hooded outfit from “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”.
Although she has been through many “stages” – from the Neighbours days, through Stock Aitken Waterman, through indie-Kylie, through “gay Kylie” – as you wander around the exhibition a “Kylie-style” emerges. I’m not exactly sure, however, how to best describe the Kylie style, but some things do emerge: for example, the clothes are designed to match her tiny size. At one point, an eight year child next to us, honestly said of the denim shorts, “They’re so small, I could wear those”. I think there’s also a multi-layered element to many of the designs and also a “fashion school” ethos in some of the experimentation.
The television exhibition, by its very nature, is far more broad, and thus far more enjoyable. Although emphasising the nostalgia associated with the television programming itself, the exhibition also features some of the technology and seeks to explain how it has also infuenced the output.
Highlights of the exhibition for me included the opportunity to watch some classic moments from favourite childhood programs, including “Number 96”, “The Box” and “Certain Women”. Yeah, I know they’re not children’s program, but they’re certainly strong memories of my childhood that I haven’t been able to relive in recent years, despite the availability of DVD.
On a totally different level, it was just amazing to see how plain some of the television costumes were in real life, including the Aunty Jack costume and a fairly plain house dress from the “Mavis Bramstom” show.
In all, we probably spent about 30 minutes at Kylie and 90 minutes in the television exhibition. Both were good in their own ways, and represented a very good $10 entrance fee investment.