And it began . . .

Upon receiving the brief for Woollen Mermaids, it was difficult to know where to start. The process began with basic research, gathering pictures and information from books, the internet and magazines of anything to do with swimwear and Annette Kellerman.

 It became apparent that Annette Kellerman was an impressive role model for women, even decades after her career. It was her boldness and tenacity that struck me most, thus beginning the journey to what would ultimately become my concept. Other contributing factors were the fashions of the 1920’s, 1930’s and the 1980’s, all eras with vastly different aesthetics and lifestyles. I was attracted to the details from evening and daywear in the 1920’s and 30’s, particularly the way they made use of layers, panels, pleats, draping, bows, beadwork, crochet, textures, borders, tassels, pintucks, necklines, ruffles, gathers, ruching and symmetry. The cuts of the 1980’s were unusual and bold, some only worn by the most daring of women. This could be related to Annette Kellerman boldly sporting the men’s swimsuit with little care of what society thought of it. This connection led to the realisation that all three of these eras had some sort of positive influence on the way society viewed women. The concept was emerging…

Film still from her 1911 movie 'Siren of the Sea'

Annette Kellerman in a film still from her 1911 movie 'Siren of the Sea'


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