As soon as I found out about NGV’s latest fashion exhibition ‘Ballet & Fashion‘ I knew I had to visit. I love ballet, I love ballet costumes and I love fashion, and I was curious to see what kind of items they had on display.

Given the number of fashion designers who have collaborated with ballet companies around the world over time, including The Australian Ballet, I was surprised by the small scale of this exhibition. There are only about 20 costumes in total – albeit designed by famous local and international designers such as Collette Dinnigan and Christian Lacroix. I’ve visited the costume department of The Australian Ballet and believe me there are a lot more fabulous tutus in the archives!

Nevertheless, if you’re going to NGV International anyway then the two rooms are worth visiting – the exhibition is free. I particularly loved the wild headdresses made by local milliner Richard Nylon and the delicate brocade, silk tulle and organza embroidered costumes designed for Romeo and Juliet by Akira Isogawa.

From the cheap seats you don’t get to appreciate the intricate detail and craftsmanship that goes into making a ballet costume and the accompanying video is interesting for its insight into Akira’s work with the cast and then watching the dancers bring the clothes alive.

Finally, for those with little ones you may be interested to know that Collette Dinnigan has collaborated with The Australian Ballet and Target to design a range of ballet-inspired party wear for girls aged 3-8 years. The collection will start selling on November 21 online and in store. Judging by the Collette Dinnigan tutu on display at this exhibition, I’m sure it will all be beautiful and adorable!

Ballet & Fashion, NGV International 180 St Kilda Rd

3 November 2012 – 19 May 2013

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