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Dreaming of Dior at the NGV Gala

The National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture. 27 Aug 17 – 7 Nov 17. Image courtesy of NGV. The National Gallery of Victoria presents The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture. 27 Aug 17 – 7 Nov 17. Image courtesy of NGV.


Celebrities and fashion industry leaders came together in Melbourne on Saturday night for the glamorous gala opening of The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture at The National Gallery of Victoria International.

A star studded guest list


Jesinta Franklin, Jessica Gomes, Nicole Kidman, Adam Goodes, Natalie Croker. Jesinta Franklin, Jessica Gomes, Nicole Kidman, Adam Goodes, Natalie Croker.


Actresses Nicole Kidman and Elisabeth Olsen, Grammy Award-winning musician Kimbra and Canadian model and activist Winnie Harlow were among the guests who walked the David Jones red carpet to celebrate the opening of the exhibition showcasing a sumptuous display of over 140 garments from Christian Dior Couture designed 1947 to 2017.

Fusing art, fashion, music, fine wine and food, the black-tie event attended by David Jones ambassadors Adam Goodes, Jesinta Franklin and Jessica Gomes featured flowers by celebrated florist Flowers Vasette, a performance from Kimbra and a live DJ set by Australian electronic dance music duo Yolanda Be Cool.

The Australian connection with Dior

Dior has a strong historical connection with Australia – Christian Dior held his first show outside of Paris at David Jones in Sydney in 1948 -  and as a principal partner of the exhibition the department store commissioned a stunning homage to the master couturier.

Australian designers Bianca Spender, Aje. and macgraw created bespoke houndstooth outfit for the Gala evening, with Spender designing a draped evening gown from treasured beaded fabric she had sourced in a vintage auction.

“I delighted delving into the world of couture for just one piece and reliving the intricacy of this craft,” says Spender.


David Jones host fashion presentation at NGV Gala dinner. Macgraw, Aje, and Bianca Spender houndstooth bespoke outfits. David Jones host fashion presentation at NGV Gala dinner. Macgraw, Aje, and Bianca Spender houndstooth bespoke outfits.


Aje. concocted a one shouldered mini dress with an exaggerated long line sleeve and double layer train to honour the history and future of the Parisian house. Sisters Beth and Tessa MacGraw devised a four-piece look in Australian Merino wool houndstooth that included a knitted beret created in collaboration with iconic Bondi knitter John Macarthur.

“We wanted to pay respect to the classicism of Dior but we also wanted people to clearly see our aesthetic in our look,” says Tessa MacGraw.

All creations were part of a David Jones fashion moment that occurred during the evening when 20 looks from eight Australian designer (Romance Was Born, macgraw, Aje, Bianca Spender, Dion Lee, Ellery, KITX) collections were featured in a presentation to guests.


David Jones host fashion presentation at NGV Gala dinner. Designers: left to right. Romance Was Born (1-3) Macgraw (4,5) Aje (6,7). Three bespoke houndstooth looks: Aje, Bianca Spender, macgraw. David Jones host fashion presentation at NGV Gala dinner. Designers: left to right. Romance Was Born (1-3) Macgraw (4,5) Aje (6,7). Three bespoke houndstooth looks: Aje, Bianca Spender, macgraw.


Proceeds from the NGV Gala will go towards supporting the NGV Fashion and Textiles Collection.

Words by Georgina Safe


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