As borderline apocalyptic weather threatened to plunge many of the western suburbs into darkness on Tuesday, a select few people in Newtown paid witness to a veritable carnival of colour. The latter situation came courtesy of Jenny Kee’s "The Art of the Scarf: 1980 – 2012" launch at Pretty Dog boutique, a celebration of the mind-bending Romance Was Born-styled collection debuted at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in May.
For 40 years Jenny Kee has been one of Australian fashion’s brightest beacons, pulling off incredible feats such as making Australiana references non-tacky and making a print containing at least five non-black colours appeal to Karl Lagerfeld. The iconic Black Opal print used in Lagerfeld’s first collection for Chanel in 1982 was just one of the designs on display last night, with fresh new designs making an appearance alongside vintage re-issues.
Kee’s attraction to Australiana and Aboriginal art appears to be more like an addiction, with every indulgence resulting in a psychedelic trip more chaotically mind-blowing than the one preceding it. More recently, Kee’s evoked her “totem” (her own words) flower the Waratah, rendering it in too many colours to count and layering it with Aboriginal patterns, trippy swirls and tropical fish. Other new designs include the ‘Monet Lotus’ (2012) and ‘Cozmic Oz’ (2011), which is what you might get if you made a child do Mandala Art Therapy on a beautiful square of silk chiffon.
All scarves in this non-seasonal collection are limited editions 100% handmade in Australia. One single piece can be constructed from twenty original artworks as well as a mish-mash of mediums including oil crayons, acrylic, watercolours and Asian inks and digital printing, which is just one excellent reason to justify handing over $425 for one.