An image of the world’s oldest working supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice looms large on the walls of East Maitland Library.
A paparazzi image of former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins from 2010 Australian Fashion Week is also on display.
“Fashion photography wasn’t always about the business of selling clothes or showcasing celebrity style, as it is today,” NSW State Library fashion expert Margot Riley said.
“Once, it was a private endeavour with the wealthy posing for photographic portraits wearing their finest clothes to share with family and friends.”
Titled Flashback: 160 years of Australian Fashion Photos, the exhibition – curated by Ms Riley – showcases a selection of beautiful and iconic images from the State Library’s unrivalled collection, ranging from mid-19th century hand-coloured portraiture through to contemporary fashion shots.
“Prior to the mid-1920s there were no professional fashion models in Australia so pretty society girls were used, but from the 1930s local advertising and women’s magazine publishing industries were in full swing using images of fashionably dressed upper class women, models and screen stars to promote the latest styles,” Ms Riley said.
Ms Riley will talk about the exhibition during a high tea at East Maitland Library at 2pm on Wednesday.