The unique collaboration transformed the Powerhouse’s iconic Boiler Hall for the first AAFW runway show in the museum’s 142-year history, with the workshop team collaborating with ISG to realise the vibrant ‘deconstructed castle’ runway. Artistic direction was led by Benn Hamilton, set design by Max Rixon, and spatial design by Tayarch Design Studio, all mainstay ISG collaborators who worked with the Powerhouse team to create more than 15 sculptural works along with painted banners, set pieces, and wearable art objects.
More than a thousand hours of labour over five weeks and 123 litres of fluorescent paint, including much reused from previous exhibition projects, went into the collaboration. The full breadth of the workshop team’s skills and experience was showcased, from entry-level to experienced artisans and tradespeople with 30 years of experience across metal, timber, and scenic work, plus drawing and 3D modelling.
The Powerhouse workshop was amongst 60 Australian and international collaborators from the creative industries engaged to realise 33 singular looks for the runway show. One stand-out was a steel ‘tubular vest’ designed by Benn Hamilton and crafted by the Powerhouse workshop, which housed a floral arrangement by the Colour Blind Florist Benjamin Avery. The workshop also collaborated on NYC-based artist Patrick Church’s sculptural look.
Our collaboration with the Powerhouse has enabled us to realise the full scale and magnitude of our creative vision for this year’s Afterpay Australian Fashion Week runway show. Being embedded in the Powerhouse Ultimo Creative Industries Precinct as a Resident has generated thrilling new collaborations. Access to the incredible workshop facilities and production team at Powerhouse Ultimo has elevated the show to new heights in the iconic Boiler Hall.
ISG’s collaboration with Australian fashion veteran Jenny Kee AO opened and closed the show. ISG used recycled materials from ‘Step Into Paradise’ (Kee and Linda Jackson’s seminal Powerhouse retrospective) for the lining of garments, shoes, set design, and other elements. Kee’s archive of iconic prints and motifs, including her signature ‘Earth First’ scarf, were translated into textile designs by Brittney Wyper and incorporated into new garments, with the designer herself making a runway cameo alongside her granddaughter.
In his unique graphic style, Apollo Michaelides illustrated textile designs with cartoons featuring references to the Powerhouse's expansive collection. Victoria Todorov’s textile designs also referenced a variety of collection objects for a garment designed by Shanghai-based Jake Siu. Photo media artist and sculptor Anna Pogossova’s oversized coins, seen on shoes, garments, and jewellery, referenced real and counterfeit ancient Greek coins from the Powerhouse collection.
In collaboration with Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, ISG presented a silhouette that captures the fashion label's relationship with Sally and the Gallery. Clad in a jacket and skirt, the model represented Sally as the gallery director, while a ‘shell’ reflected the distinct, considered textures of the gallery architecture, with a headdress symbolising the gallery’s iconic ‘halo’ light entrance.
Simone Arnol, Winner of the National Indigenous Fashion Awards 2021, worked in collaboration with masters of Ghostnet woven totemic artworks Pormpuraaw Art Centre and Yarrabah Arts and Culture to present a series of designs combining recycled fishing nets, textiles, and printed fabrics.
The show was presented alongside a curated Powerhouse Late program, which included a livestream of the runway show into the Powerhouse Theatre alongside artwork projections, documentary screenings, and music curated by FBi Radio. The runway show will remain available to view on the Powerhouse’s YouTube channel.
The Powerhouse is thrilled to present our collaboration with ISG for AAFW 2022. Since our collaboration was first announced, Jordan’s epic vision has expanded in new and exciting ways. Galvanising the resources of the Powerhouse workshop team and production teams, this marked a momentous moment for the museum, transforming the iconic Boiler Hall into the world of Jordan Gogos.
Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is an IMG event proudly supported by the New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
If you liked this article, you might like our write-up of AAFW's first day here.
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