French Fashion 1700. Girl Fashion 2011. Model Fashion Games.
Detail of Napier Waller's Mural "Winter - Actresses and Drama from Medieval Times to the Present" - Myer Emporium Mural Hall, Bourke Street, Melbourne
In 1931 Sidney Myer (1878 – 1934) Russian emigre turned Melbourne businessman and philanthropist decided to reinvigorate his store the Myer Emporium by redeveloping his flagship Bourke Street store at 314-336 Bourke Street. Part of this included a new facade in the prevailing interwar style of the time – Art Deco and the addition of several more floors to what was already a very large department store. On the sixth floor a chic European style ballroom with soaring ceilings, sweeping stairs and parquet flooring was planned for use by the emporium’s patrons as a dining room by day and in which Myer could host Parisian fashion shows and hold exclusive Melbourne society events by night. The Myer Mural Hall, so called because of an impressive collection of ten murals by Australian artist Napier Waller, was the realisation of Sidney Myer’s dream. The Mural Hall, a dining hall suitable for a sitting for one thousand people and a venue for fashion parades and performances, was completed in 1933 as part of the sixth floor which was set aside for dining. It is a large rectangular space with a decorative plaster ceiling and balconies and wall panels in a Streamline Moderne style. However, it is the decoration of ten murals by renowned artist Napier Waller (1893-1972) that are the Mural Hall’s claim to fame. The murals took a little over a year to complete and were painted at Napier Waller’s home at Fairy Hills in Ivanhoe before being transported to the department store where they were hung. Completed in 1934, just after Sidney Myer’s death, eight of the murals are almost floor to ceiling, whilst the remaining two are located over the two side entrances. All pay homage to the seasons and to women and their achievements through history in the areas of art, opera, literature, dance, sport and fashion. The western wall features a mural "Winter - Actresses and Drama from Medieval Times to the Present". It features: Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) (1622 – 1673), the greatest French comic dramatist of the 17th Century; Armande-Gresinde-Claire-Elisabeth Bejart (1640 – 1700), French actress, wife of Moliere and daughter of Madeline Bejart; Madeline Bejart (1618 – 1672), the French actress, theatre director and manageress of Moliere’s theatre company; Lanthe, claimed to be England’s first actress, making her initial bow in 1657 despite legal prohibition of theatrical performances by women in public; and Sarah Siddons (1755 – 1831), the best known tragedienne in the 18th Century, in particular for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth. Napier Waller (1893 – 1972) was a noted Australian muralist, mosaicist and painter. He served in France from 1916, being so seriously wounded at Bullecourt that he lost his right arm. He was right-handed but learned to use his left hand while recuperating. Back in Australia, he established his reputation by exhibiting more paintings. He is perhaps best known for the mosaics and stained glass for the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, completed in 1958. However, Melbourne has been described as "a gallery of Napier Waller’s work". Pieces of Napier Waller’s works may be found in the Melbourne Town Hall (1927), the State Library of Victoria (1928), the T & G Life Building (1929), Newspaper House (1933), Florentino’s Restaurant (1934), the Wesley Church (1935) and the University of Melbourne (1940) as well as the Myer Mural Hall.1765
1765 Robe a la francaise • England, c. 1765 • Gift of Mrs. Henry Salvatori • For most of the eighteenth century, women had two fashion choices: the French-style gown (robe a la francaise), with a loosely draped back, and the form-fittin English-style gown (robe a l'anglaise). Although named for their countries of origin, both styles were worn simultaneously troughout Europe. By the 1780s, however, the robe a la francaise appeared only on very formal occasions. This late example is shaped to fit the wide, rectangular hoop petticoart worn at the English court.
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