Stepping into the Krystna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift Exhibit at NGV is like stepping into a fashion fairytale…

A colossal collection of iconic fashion pieces that include a rare suite of Gabrielle Chanel’s little black dresses and Yves Saint Laurent’s ground-breaking women’s tuxedo Le Smoking Suit from 1967.

The exhibit showcases more than 150 couture gowns, dresses and fashion ephemera that has been generously gifted from that fashion fairy godmother herself, Philanthropist, Krystyna Cambpbell-Pretty.

Campbell-Pretty acquired the collection 3 years prior, from couturier Dominique Sirop. A former assistant to legendary designer Herbert Givenchy, Sirop started collecting these fashion treasures from the age of 14.

Currently open to the public until the 14th of July, the exhibition captures pivotal moments in fashion history. Here, iconoclastic designs from the 19th century to present, (which have not until now been available for viewing in Australia) are presented for your viewing pleasure, with works including a stunning representation of Alexander McQueen’s tartan collection, famously showcased by Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2006 Met Gala.

This is a unique and fascinating insight into the genius behind some of the most famous fashion moments in history, offering visitors a glimpse of original sketches and workbooks by designers including Jeanne Lanvin and Madame Grès, stunning fashion photography from Paris fashion houses such as Givenchy, and rare early Vogue and Les Modes fashion magazines.

Theses impeccably and tastefully curated materials also form the strong foundation of the new  NGV specialist fashion research library, the Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Research Collection.

Krystyna Campbell-Pretty said, “Fashion can be simultaneously artistic, pragmatic, and a crucial physical record of complex construction skills and techniques that are all but gone. For me, fashion is also visual and social history, reflecting the role, perception and lives of women in society.”

She continues, “I am passionate about building the NGV Fashion and Textiles Collection, as well as broadening my philanthropic efforts in a variety of other cultural and educational programs, especially those directed to children. I hope audiences enjoy this collection, which now belongs to all Victorians and to all Australians.”

The Krystyna Campbell-Pretty Fashion Gift will be on display at NGV International from March 1 to July 14.