Due to the continuing and constant relationship between Kylie Minogue and Arts Centre Melbourne , a very complete, chronological collection of her costumes, across tours, music videos and red carpet events, is available.
Curator Margot Anderson shows a few examples, complete with background stories.
The Collection was donated in 2003 and came in in a number of consignments. Some of the material was actually dropped off to the Collection by Kylie’s parents, Ron and Carol Minogue. The Collection is really complete. The fact that the costumes come directly from Kylie, all the stories and the history are still very much intact, so we get a direct line of communication from the performer, in this case being Kylie where we can tell the stories that she tells us.
The Museum Dress is significant for quite a number of reasons. The fact that it was actually created as a gift to the Art Centre, it became the signature image of the Kylie Exhibition which has gone on to tour around the UK as well as Australia but also, it shows her love of costume and it also shows the fact that she’s very aware of the preservation and the stories that she’s actually preserving by handing it over to a Collection such as ours. Kylie was involved in the design process for the Dress. When you look at the costume itself in the flesh, she’s actually gathered a whole lot of bits of fabric and trims that have been incorporated into a number of really iconic images. The costume is a combination of all those amazing images that we’re all so familiar with as well as elements of the costumes she’s loved.
This was one of the first of Kylie’s costumes to come into the collection; it was donated back in 1991. It was actually worn for her very first International tour called ‘Enjoy Yourself’ and that was in 1990. Designed by Australian designer Nicole Bonython, it’s a good example to show where Kylie started off and the fact that she was working with quite local designers.
The showgirl costume designed by Kylie herself and her stylist William Baker for her ‘Intimate and Live’ tour in 1998, is again significant on lots of different levels. Firstly, I guess it’s the unveiling of the showgirl persona that she’s gone on to re-visit over a number of her tours and it seems to be perhaps the most loved image of Kylie. The budget for ‘Intimate and Live’ was obviously of a much smaller scale and it’s interesting that there was a lot of stories that have come out of just that alone. The fact that they had made a decision when this costume was designed that all the beadwork and the sequin work would actually be done by hand…and I think over time they realized how much work was involved in that and it led to basically Kylie, her mum and her nana and William Baker, her stylist, actually all sitting around Kylie’s kitchen table in Melbourne sewing on those sequins and that beadwork till the very last minute before the show. The head dress for this costume was designed by Philip Rhodes and at this stage the headdress is quite restrained but over time the head dress has become more and more spectacular.
This was designed by Julien Macdonald for Kylie’s ‘On a Night Like This’ tour which was in 2000. It’s a really good example of how complete a costume can be in her Collection because it also has the head dress as well as the shoes. The head dress was designed by a well known English milliner, Stephen Jones. The shoes were actually designed by Manolo Blahnik and there are quite a few of Manolo Blahnik shoes in the Kylie Collection. Kylie’s mastered the art of being able to perform fairly rigorous, complex dance routines in very high heels as well as being able to go up and down quite often, quite long flights of stairs that are part of the stage set.