Museum of Brisbane

A Curators Guide

The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive draws on Museum of Brisbane’s Easton Pearson Archive, an incredible resource of garments created by the legendary Brisbane fashion label Easton Pearson. The Archive contains over 3,300 garments, plus over 5000 pieces of supporting material including range plans, production sketches, fabric swatches, look books, accessories and correspondence. It’s the links between the garments and this supporting material that makes the The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive a unique window into the working processes of the designer duo.

With 3,300 garments to choose from, the process of selecting outfits for the exhibition was difficult. Madeleine Johns and I worked closely with Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson to select a diverse range of garments that showcases different techniques, collaborative processes, materials and styles from throughout their 28-year partnership. While the exhibition certainly features some stunning runway pieces, there are also plenty of more understated outfits, where the ‘wow factor’ is in the minute details and the stories they tell about how Easton Pearson worked.

The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive explores the designers’ slow fashion approach through their collaborations and techniques. Through collaborations with artisans in India and Vietnam, as well as at home in Brisbane, the designers utilised traditional techniques specific to the regions they were working. Notably, they created their own textile designs for nearly every garment through techniques like screen printing, tie dying, wood block printing, appliqué, beading and embroidery.

The time, artistry and care that went into every garment can only be appreciated by viewing them up close and in person, an experience enriched by the addition of supporting material from the archive, as well as multimedia guides for deeper exploration.

Touch screens in the exhibition allow visitors to delve into the techniques used and the stories behind the finished garments. An audio guide to accompany the exhibition means visitors can listen to Pamela and Lydia describe in their own words how they drew inspiration from their deep understanding of fashion history, and their travels to far reaches of the globe.

As well as exploring the designers’ approach to collaboration, slow fashion and techniques, The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive showcases a selection of Easton Pearson’s bold, playful, patterned garments for which the brand is so well known. These garments feature in a gallery decorated by Brisbane artist Stephen Mok.

The Designers’ Guide: Easton Pearson Archive is a behind-the-scenes look at how a Brisbane fashion label worked on a global scale.


Miranda Hine