Melbourne, Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2015

Exhibition opening: ‘A New Beginning’ by Jenny Kee, Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2015

0 Comments 19 February 2015

Just when we thought Jenny Kee couldn’t get any cooler, she pops out a new knitwear collection.

But this hardly comes as a surprise. With her list of accolades extending longer than a ball of yarn, Kee’s archive-inspired anthology seems a fitting next-step for the charismatic designer that never stops.

On Tuesday evening, amidst the trove of trinkets on show at Melbourne’s Pieces of Eight Gallery, a lucky mob of Kee-devotees were granted some serious sneak-peekage.

Beneath a giant rendition of Kee’s all-seeing spectacles, 14 pieces from the New Beginning collection were available to view, touch and even try on.

Both nostalgic and new, the small selection of scarfs, sweaters, beanies and knits feature many a nod to the classic Kee, with desert pea and boomerang motifs colourfully collaged alongside more monochromatic palettes reminiscent of her Black Opal days.

But texture breathes life into these old favourites. Hand picked from the finest Australian Merino’s before being shipped to Italy for spinning, the ‘cashwool’ used to construct Kee’s collection is groomed to standards rivalling that of professional hair care. Even slight amounts of stress placed on cashwool producing sheep can affect the quality of their fleece.

But such attention to detail shows. A sensory experience of the cosiest kind, on Tuesday the “look but don’t touch” rule was difficult to enforce. Thankfully though, the kind folks at Pieces of Eight took this into account, and allowed the cooing crowd to quite literally pull the wool over each other’s eyes.

While A New Beginning took centre stage, the gallery’s regular tenants stole our hearts, too. If you haven’t visited Pieces of Eight, whether it’s to purchase or ponder the assortment of local design talent, this dainty trinket trove is the cities one-stop jewellery shop.

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Despite the absence of Kee herself, the gang behind the gallery ensured her presence was truly felt. Framing the festivities with cardboard cut outs of native flora, Sydney based paper-master Benja Harney paid homage to Kee by converting the galleries façade into a waratah inspired wreath.

Available for pre-order on the evening, it was awfully difficult to try and not buy. But with many of those present already decorated in Kee’s designs, the garments on show will undoubtedly wriggle their way into a number of well-loved wardrobes.

What better way to open the 2015 Cultural Program than with the lady who made Australiana acceptable. Open to the public at Pieces of Eight Gallery for the duration of the 2015 Cultural Program, A New Beginning is well worth trying on for size.

For more information about the event, click here.

Photo credit: Kim Victoria Wearne

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