After Five : Fashion from the Darnell Collection
The After Five catalogue is a celebration of the artistry of designers and a window to the social history of the twentieth century.
The exhibition was entirely drawn from The Darnell Collection of International Vintage Couture. Now considered Australia’s largest private collection of fashion, the collection has an intriguing provenance. The core of the collection was put together by Doris Darnell, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, who from the 1930s gathered together items of clothing worn by her wealthy friends and acquaintances. Of particular interest were the glamorous garments worn for special occasions. In 2004 Doris bequeathed half her collection to an American university, and the other half to her goddaughter, Charlotte Smith. Since inheriting her godmother’s collection of precious fashion, Charlotte has continued to develop the collection, which now numbers over 6000 items of dress. New acquisitions by Charlotte have resulted in many of the works represented in the exhibition bearing an Australian provenance.
Image: Cover of After Five : Fashion from the Darnell Collection catalogue.