‘Woollen Mermaids’ swimsuit designs at the ’09 QUT BFA Fashion Show

A number of the designs created by the second year students for Woollen Mermaids were presented at the recent QUT BFA fashion show – and they looked fantastic!

View on  YouTube 

Woollen Mermaids swimsuits


Woollen Mermaids

The exhibition has opened and is fantastic!  Of course the sub-theme that is closest to my heart is the Woollen Mermaids. I first started scoping this concept back in 2006, and in part I was driven by the desire to articulate how Annette Kellerman and the swimsuit have contributed to Australian national identity  – and in turn  how Australia has influenced the design direction of the swimsuit to create a distinctly Australian niche in global fashion. Kellerman is remembered for popularising the swimsuit in the early 1900s, however her contribution stretches beyond this, as she achieved success across a number of related fields – in fashion, film, sport and as a role-model for women, encouraging self-motivation and self-development. By drawing on her as muse for a contemporary swimsuit collection by Australia’s leading swimwear designers and the talented second-year students at QUT,  I was threading the past into the present to both celebrate and memorialise Kellerman’s achievements and give it new meaning and currency.

Kellerman drew on mermaidenry and the magic of fairy tales to create a charismatic persona clothed in the swimsuit, although in reality these were woolly and uncomfortable. Woollen Mermaids is a modern fairy tale at a time when swimsuits have a fashion edge – glamorous, exotic,  and designed in body-hugging fine wool/lycra.

Happy endings  – I love them – and Woollen Mermaids is just that!

christine xx

the end

For my final concept presentation I did an animation based on three of my swimsuit designs, I was really happy with the end product, and I think it was worth the 4 days with no sleep…! Haha (but seriously).

Anyway, enjoy, “in bloom” a 09/10 swimwear collection by Ana Diaz:


The final swimsuit








The finished swimsuit!

Ready steady sew!

So I was wrong thinking that wool would be easy to sew with. Think again. I don’t believe I’ve ever unpicked a swimsuit so much….though it was all worth it in the end.


The 'QUT Unpickers' group


Just starting to piece together the top half of my swimsuit


I had to slightly enlarge the bra cups so they would fit appropriately to a size ten model


the bra cups that took me five hours to do. joy.

And…..here it is

My first- and final post.

We were given the whole summer holidays to ponder on a woollen mermaids swimwear concept… Unlike my fellow classmates I wasn’t in fabulous London or somewhere exotic …… But in T-bar (Toowoomba) where I had ample time to research and create a concept, due to the fact that there is nothing to do there.

3 Months Later– Suddenly I’m back at uni with no set in stone concept… I have a serious procrastination problem.. A complete reoffender!!

However over the holidays I did reignite the flame between movies and myself… I became a serious cinephile.. And LOVED IT!

Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 epic film Romeo and Juliet’s artistic direction was a huge inspiration for me visually. This original inspiration led me to South American Christian culture and their colourful shrines. I watched numerous movies on Oscar Romero and paid close attention to the places of worship in these realistic adaptations of Mexican culture.

To sum it up they were. Colour. Colour. Colour. Jesus. Colour

I looked into trends and fell in love with Trash and Vaudeville..Trash and Vaudeville

Picture 259

I love the concept within fashion that if something is so wrong… its strangely fashionably right

Slightly off.. is what Eurotrash Catholicism (my concept) IS>

Eurotrash Catholicism

New Age Catholicism attracts church goers with seedy neon tube lights and  fluorescent Jesus’

neon jesus

I wanted to approach my swimsuit in a similar way to this new take on catholicism… Deconstruct the image of standard swimwear and play with traditional conceptions.

Picture 25057

Those saggy buns are history.. a bra for your bum. Playing with traditional swimwear ..

Other DesignsPicture 2242 230e 227236 238234225





Picture 176sample 2

Sample stage- the fit was horrible . I found stretch very interesting to work with! Initially i was going to have a cape over the breasts. But it didnt have the desired effect. So I opted for Gernreich style, which coincidentally works with my eurotrash concept of challenging what western cultuere deems acceptable.

Toile Stage

ToileToile bum bra


Overall the woollen Mermaids swimwear brief was a really great learning experience, working with stretch and thanks to Jillian I have learnt invaluable skills about fabric handling and special swimwear techniques.


Just finalising my illustrations and my powerpoint for Thursdays final design presentation

Here are my final illustrations utilising my hand drawings and work in Adobe Illustrator

sensory22 practicecaddd22