Inside the Collection

Meet the curator – Rebecca Evans

Rebecca Evans with vintage dresses from the Museum's collection
Rebecca Evans with vintage dresses from the Museum’s collection.
Image: Sotha Bourn

What is your name?
Rebecca Evans

What is your speciality area?
Isn’t specialisation code for ‘things I like best’?
I have made and loved clothing and textiles for as long as I can remember. My Mum and Nan taught me to sew and with this passion I eventually completed a Creative Arts degree majoring in Textiles at Wollongong University. A romantic at heart, I am also obsessed with vintage clothing from the 1940s and 1950s. I love how a historic garment can tell a story. This may be a waistline that was let out for pregnancy or the economic use of materials; you don’t get much closer to the bodies of history than historic dress!

I am also fascinated with the manufacture of textiles and dress through time.
It goes against our current understanding of human ingenuity. We are so rapt up with the future that we forget that the past produced designs (especially in fashion and textiles) that we can no longer make due to lost knowledge and materials. We have much to learn from the past. For example, the way clothing was repaired and re-used can help with environment issues in the future.

How long have you been working at the museum? Since 2009

Individual favourite object in the collection?
In 2010 I worked with Glynis Jones on Frock Stars. For this I acquired the Iced VoVo dress by fashion design label Romance Was Born. This dress is a great example of contemporary Australian design and is fun and playful. It is also reflects the personalities of the designers, Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales.
The Museum has an incredible collection of fashion and textiles and it used as a resource for fashion designers, artists, and historians. Some of my favourite pieces include:
1957 evening dress by Christian Dior, the Annette Kellerman collection, Ann Marsden’s ball gown, a men’s patchwork dressing gown from the 1830s, an evening dress by Toni Maticevski, a maternity dress from 1825 and our collection of Indigenous Australian batiks.

What piece of research or exhibition are you most proud of in your career in the Museum?
I have just finished working on the Love Lace exhibition with Lindie Ward. I am still in awe of the creativity of the artists and makers in this show! If you have not seen it yet, you should definitely go and see it!
I am also really proud of working on the Australian Dress Register, first as a volunteer and then an Assistant Curator. It has been exciting to see regional museums and galleries re-consider their dress collections as significant in telling Australian history.

Love Lace will be open until April 2012.
You can follow Rebecca on twitter @rebeccajoyevans

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