Males Clothes At Sovereign Hill 1’ + ‘Males Clothes At Sovereign Hill 2’, Sovereign Hill Open Air Museum, Golden Point, Ballarat, 1986, photo by Alicia Bee.


When I went to ‘Mariana Hardwick Retrospective- 30 Years Of Fashion’ exhibition as part of the L’oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program it reminded me of a girlhood fashion spirit first captured with my cartridge automatic camera at Sovereign Hill in 1986.

The dresses displayed on mannequins at Sovereign Hill left me in awe of the beauty of their material, layering and design, and I imagined a world where I could wear the clothing of a bygone era just as they had.
When visiting the historical theme park at a young age I had been mystified by the costumes and dress of 1800s, and it was mostly remembered because I had taken half my film photos in the clothing museum (seen at the top) and it seemed disproportionate compared to rest of the things we would discover and learn about as important to history on the class journey.
Ten photos of clothing on mannequins inside a museum, took the space of gold mining, the journey within the apothecary, and bank and later events like the Pink Lake of Ballarat, and the Eureka Stockade that I would experience with my eyes not camera.
With the photos acting as memory I was left feeling the little velvet jacket you see above. It was very beautiful and seen as alike to a child person I remembered how I had to capture it in a photo to bring their story to the world and tell people what I had seen.
The many hooped dresses of the era were so beautiful I took many photos of them, believing them so important and exquisite it was necessary to record.
I was mostly impressed that they had the original clothing preserved and it was over 150 years old, for we had created dress ups to imitate the style but not seen the original material or had such amazing costume to touch.
I now know that many museums use reproductions and their value may not have been as important, but I still fell in love with an old world through the clothing museum at Sovereign Hill.

Mariana Hardwick’s story says ‘she started with an idea and a dress’, in her magazine clippings, and this is the dress that launched my Sovereign Hill Memory of the day inside the museum.
In the several addresses of shop from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to its present Brunswick location. Mariana Hardwick had recreated the dress, restyling her original into a series of dresses, then season after season reinvented it to find herself with many editorials in bridal and fashion magazines as the popular Melbourne favorite for formal and bridal wear.
Her peak popularity parallels my 80s reading of TV WEEK, when dresses by Mariana Hardwick were worn by celebrities and TV actors, from Neighbors to A Country Practice.
Photos in newspaper, and women’s magazines show the story of the label that catered for made to order designs, as well as seasonal staples.
They now own the HARDWICK BUILDING on 459 -475 Sydney Road Brunswick, where for seven years their name has reigned over the prominent street frontage on the road most known for bridal wear in Melbourne. (The same road turns into Highway 31 and may be taken all the way to Parramatta Road Sydney where there are also bridal wear shops.)
Dresses known by the name of the Bride who ordered them to be made, were collected like art pieces, and have been displayed in the first level of the Marian Hardwick store’s own permanent museum, where surrounding curtains separate viewers from the cutting floor workroom.
My favorite dress was the original lace style, common around the late 1970’s, illustrating a leaning toward the traditional 19th century length, collar and bodice.
You can see me leaning behind a smaller sized mannequin with my lipstick close to collar on these phone photos.

Vote for me in a style competition here;
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First time writer Amy Allen thought of this book idea when she got pregnant and found the lack of designer pregnancy clothes and acceptable labels for babies to wear.

She felt isolated that the fashion community was not properly represented in baby shops and Parenting Magazines and wanted to have a title that gave women like her and the SEX AND THE CITY crowd a place to enjoy the baby shower.
Imagine GUCCI NAPPY BAGS, and miniature PRADA, and yummy mothers wearing stiletto high heels, drinking champagne through breastfeeding.
Along with the fashion illustrations of Eun-Kyoung Kang this cute little package would be a cute present for would be mothers to start to loose their figure in more ways than one.
The byline explanation ‘Nursery Rhymes For The Blahnik Brigade’ defines the content of the BLING BRAND prose inspired by and adapted from traditional folk song and rhyme.
When published by SPY 2005 it received praise from Vogue and even The Times and other non-fashion serious publications.
It fit right in there with the term MILF (do your own acronym research), and the liberation movement of female shoppers that liked to spend a lot of money.
I had always criticized parenting blogs and their mention of their children’s toilet habits, and this publication invents the term ‘CHAMPOO’ to mean the result of breastmilk after champagne drinking. Though I may remember it for life and next time anyone pops the question.
How much mothers could pretend to love designers more than a child is not covered in this selfish little title.
Australian Fashion fans might not get it, because the closest many had come to this circle of women was when Sass & Bide got worn on Sex And The City.
Australian Fashion buyers are a bit more wise with purchases and need a reason to be that selfish.
In fact if there are any yummy mummies in Australia that had got through to toddler’s years without purchasing a BONDS Wondersuit, or who wore their Blahniks through till third trimester and beyond just may be greatest the wonder of typical Australian Fashion.
> I have used the book as inspiration and writing task for rewriting my own fashion poems from traditional rhyme and English folk songs. Scroll below to the POETASTER heading and try and work out the original prose.

‘Jana’ 2010 Gwendolynne.


When ALICIA BEE found out 12 years ago that RMIT FASHION GRADUATE GWENDOLYNNE BURKIN had begun to be noticed, she felt thrilled to watch her career blossom as part of a new fashion generation.
GWENDOLYNNE  made some jeans and day clothes she stocked in FAT STORES, and many will remember the wide leg denim and first name signature from the back above the pockets. My two pairs of jeans remained in my wardrobe collection in spite of SKINNY LEG JEANS taking over the latter part of the first millennium decade, and no doubt will be collected over time as a piece of vintage history.
During the skinny leg time GWENDOLYNNE had only got more known, building her name as a formal dress maker working out of her Kerr Street Fitzroy studio.
Her runway parade this year as part of the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival presented another collection fit for any fancy of occasions that requires an investment in Australian international fashion history.
ALICIA BEE: How did this RUNWAY show compare to other years in LMFF?
GWENDOLYNNE BURKIN: Do you mean my collection or the runway itself???
The runway itself was very long!
I think the styling was very minimal for the show I was in anyway. In comparison to other years in reference to the collection I was very focused on making dresses that I really think women want. I chose very linear detailing too.
ALICIA BEE: What was new about your line this year? Eg material, style or the crowd favorite?
GWENDOLYNNE BURKIN: There is this amazing piece that I call the marble sequin bolero that is very BEAUTIFUL & well my boyfriend’s favorite.
When you see the sequins close up they look like granite/marble, etc
Many people really liked the opening outfit that looked quite futuristic with a white art deco bib we call it the “arrow bib!”
It’s really cool but pretty & flattering at the same time.
ALICIA BEE: Do you show at other fashion weeks?
GWENDOLYNNE BURKIN: Ooo yes … been showing at the Spring Fashion week for years. Have shown at Perth, Adelaide in Sydney too. But mainly regular at Melbourne events.


There is a noise to the live recording that sounds like the hiss of a hotel PA that’s been around since the 70’s or early 80’s, or what is the length of the lifetime of many music makers today.
They say The Bleeding Hearts were a band that were supposed to stay but they had called it a day in their heyday.
This release is another campaign by Aztec music to ‘Preserve Australia’s Rock Musical Heritage’, and they serve it back up to us in a new CD package. This is the label for collectors of the Australian music that mattered, and Aztec are giving us the ‘vintage’ products that we should observe just like the clothes they wore that are now getting their true recognition in Australian Fashion History.
The Aztecs have been presenting the Merivale, Dr John, Prue Acton, Jenny Kee era hipster record collection, but my guess is they will be continue with our archive history to present us with the Jenny Bannister’s, Katie Pye and the Bettina Liano’s over time.
Perhaps even some Mambo surfwear might be there, as it ages with the winery shows and folk festivals of our living culture.
In the time period before Compact Disc came about, The Bleeding Hearts put out Missing Link’s second album after they broke up.
Singer Eric Gradman worked on cover art for the label, and released the LP with bubblewrap as an eye turner for the fans.
I’m sure many people have thought of interesting record covers like these, when discussing the amazing invention of bubblewrap,  but they might not know that it was already done in 1977 or ‘before you were even born’.
The Bleeding Hearts played universities and got played on the first Triple R student radio and 2JJ in Sydney.
The noise stops half way through the CD record and when it is gone you know you kind of miss it there, like the scratch entrance of a delicate stylus is a good sound associated with the enjoyment and listening of music. That noise was how you would have heard The Bleeding Hearts anyway in a show context, and it is as much a part of live music as ringing ears. Though that noise is unhealthy you were attracted to it at some point had you gone to the gig and really cared about the sound.
The second half of the record are studio recordings, after their proud completion.
The Bright Boy shines to have the punch of punk repetition demands that competed with their urge to continue with their concept of the new wave band with guitars and saxophone, with the same energy they asked to be Boys or a Rockstar with a Hit Single.
Members of the band went on to others like The Divinyls, Hoodoo Gurus, The Sports and even the Meredith Festival favorites Icehouse.

Singer Eric Gradman formed the band Man And The Machine, and took his Bright Boy songs in the direction he wanted using the new machine.
Talking Heads meets Eddie Would Go with his lyrical repetition; Eric Gradman rocks forwards and backwards repeating himself between the two bands. ‘Two Steps Forward, One Step Back,’ he sings in the Dance Of Life.
A good way to analyse Eric Gradman’s lyrics and vocals is to look at how he changed Bright Boy between the Bleeding Hearts live set, recorded version and the later one found on Man And The Machine. It’s a new band, but Eric Gradman still wanted to the sing the song because it became his signature.
“You are an idiot… You are an idiot!” he repeats in his only female inspired song Idiot Chic, that bemoans fashion and makeup like later Digger And The Pussycats would attempt in ‘Fashion Victim’, as if rock and roll was removed from any label except the ones chosen by bands (international equipment brand and American jeans labels were often favored by bands to then shunned spending money on clothes).
“What have you got that the other girls haven’t got?” Eric Gradman questions the makeup wearer and concepts of purchasing clothes for self-confidence.
I had to take some offence to the content of the song as I bat my eye mascara and wear vintage clothes.
But The Bleeding Hearts and Man And The Machine were singing to the boys, the less fashion conscious Australian’s that were opposed the race of the materialist and fashionable 1980s.
They didn’t glam for androgynous music, and they didn’t punk by ripping their clothes off. Ranging from dress suits to t-shirts and jeans in air era that more closely wrote the code for Australian music manstyle that is seen today, Eric Gradman wanted to make women think about why they purchased fashion in ‘Idiot Chic’.
Though they picked a fight with the Idiot Chic in a man’s world of Australian music, they can be seen as an important understanding of the collective male psyche of the time, two steps forward one step back, that shaped that pub rock voice and paralleled the sharpies resistance that remained very common until the 1990s and Australian fashion developed pride for product.
Explore the two versions of favorite ’The Bath’ on your lonesome, and try and capture the reactions of the audience, as they would have read it in 1979 when it first came out. I can’t even talk about the lyrical content of that one, on my present day value system.
AZTEC MUSIC  needs to know now that consumers still love vinyl and the download market are buying the large format cover art again like it’s Idiot Chic.
It may have been nice fro us all to see that bubble wrap again in stores for the bored to squeeze their Bleeding Hearts out.


AINSLIE WILLS  plays with her strong vocals to impress us even before she wears her dress at the fashionable fighters club The Workers Club in Fitzroy on the May Day of Saturday 12 May 2012.
In the meantime AINSLIE WILLS launches ‘Fighting Kind’ an anthem for female boxers and feminists that like to ask questions in April on Bandcamp and Itunes. You can listen to her Soundcloud where tracks like I’m Your Woman and Wide Load back her Fighting Kind.
Joined on Fighting Kind by Lawrence Folvig on guitar


Little Miss Piggy
by Alicia Bee © 2012.
Little Miss Piggy,
Smoked a ciggy,
Avoiding food on a diet,
She was offered a cider,
On her modeling rider,
And it encouraged Miss Piggy to stay.

This Little Piggy
By Alicia Bee © 2012.
This little Piggy,
Went to market,
This little piggy,
Took a credit loan,
This little piggy,
Brushed her teeth,
And this little piggy got treatments and stayed on holiday at home.

Twiggy Piggy by Alicia Bee
Twiggy Piggy couldn’t decide,
Turning her wardrobe clothes into a pig sty,
When the cameras came out to play,
She pushed all the other girls out of the way.

Piggy In The Mirror
By Alicia Bee © 2012.
(Inspired by an English folk song by The Cure)
Piggy in the mirror,
Dressing up to go out,
She practices her poses,
And makes her lipstick pout.
Piggy in the mirror,
Tries dancing moves for vogue,
She watches her own body,
Walk to the fashion show.
Piggy in the mirror,
Does her own hairstyle,
She changes the part each time,
And copies her smile.

By Alicia Bee © 2012.
(Inspired by an English folk song by The Beatles).
Have you seen the little piggies?
In their little skirts?
And for all the little piggies
They don’t have to work.
Always buying skirt,
To dance around in.
Have you seen the bigger piggies?
In their designer shirts,
You will find the bigger piggies,
Trying on their shirts,
Always having longer shirts to walk around in.
In their sties,
With all their clothing,
They don’t care what they wear,
In their eyes they are trending,
They don’t know they are pre-tend-ing.
Everywhere there’s lots of piggies,
Living piggy dreams,
You can see them out at night,
Breaking at the seams,
Looking in win-dows at their own re-flec-tions.

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Alicia Bee © 2012.