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Museum of Brisbane opens Easton Pearson

Brisbane fashionistas Lydia Pearson (left) and Pamela Easton pictured at the launch of the new Museum of Brisbane exhibition. Credit: Alison Brown.

Alison Brown, Three decades of Brisbane fashion revealed, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November 2018

More than 200 breathtaking couture garments from celebrated Queensland fashionistas Easton Pearson are set to go on display at the Museum of Brisbane this week.

It features dazzling gowns and garments painstakingly designed by Brisbane design duo Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson, plus intricate design sketches showing the influence Queensland had on their collection.

Thanks to the brand’s longevity, organisers believe it is the largest fashion collection held by any museum or gallery.

But despite leaving their label two years ago after 28 years in business together, the pair joked they still keep in touch regularly and text each other daily about what to wear.

“Lydia and I spent every day together for 28 years so I certainly miss that and all the conversations about design and creating,” Ms Easton said.

“We’ve had a lot of contact because of this exhibition which has been fantastic.

“I’m still working with the same people in India, and it’s terrific I have the opportunity to do that because the embroidery worker in Bombay did our work for about 20 years.

“So, there was a bit of a responsibility to try and provide work for them.”

The pair is laser-focused on ensuring the legacy of their work includes passing on their craft and expertise to the next generation of designers.

While the label’s other half sees the collection as an “expression of art”, her hope is that the items will be used as a teaching tool.

“It’s great the museum was able to take on something like this,” Ms Pearson said.

“We don’t just want [the collection] to be locked up, we want it out and used.

“To explain to people how the clothes got made is really exciting because fashion can be so superficial.

“You really just look at something and have no idea where it came from or what went into making it.”

Visitors to the exhibition can access details of the production of each garment on iPads and understand the processes that went into it.

“It is so important to have the techniques there for people to look at and get information about the techniques we’ve used. That is the essence of the ideas,” Ms Pearson said.

Whilst the fashion scene in Brisbane might be embryonic compared to the world’s larger cities, the rise of social media means more young designers have a chance of running their brand from home turf.

“It’s exciting see the diverse range of students there are coming through in such a tiny place as Brisbane where we really don’t have much of an industry to feed them into afterwards,” Ms Pearson said.

“The world has changed so much with Instagram, those small brands that some of the independent students want to develop have really got potential to keep them and make them a life if they want to stay in Brisbane.

“That was something we would have loved to have had when we started.

“It would have been infinitely cheaper and infinitely more possible to begin a brand if there’d been such a thing – it’s a real leveller.”

The exhibition opens on Friday November 23, 2018 and runs until April 22, 2019 at the Museum of Brisbane, King George Square, Brisbane.