Last Friday I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from dear friend Alex to the foundation launch of new exhibition California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way, on display at the Queensland Art Gallery until February next year. A celebration of all things Sunny California this retrospective exhibition is a collection of over 250 objects ranging from industrial, architectural and commercial subject matter to fashion and craft design.
The dress code was “a touch of retro” and so I immediately reached for Mama’s sharkskin white/cream trousers and chunky black platforms, finishing the look with a neon rope necklace. I felt retro-chic and suitably sophisticated for an arts event…although I should have realised that a launch of an exhibition centered on fabulous design would draw a wonderfully artsy and cultured crowd. The outfits were absolutely jealousy inducing! I would even go so far to say that I enjoyed watching these gorgeous people mill about with champagne in hand almost as much as I did the expertly curated exhibition itself…
Head turning gold hexagon cutout dress by PAM.
Eye-popping tropical print leggings from the H&M x Versace series.
The most incredible “Californian” oversized tan hide handbag I have ever seen…*swoon*
A marvelous Easton Pearson (props for wearing great local designer!) creation with an eye-catching motif and red lacquered lips.
Dazzling in 50’s inspired prints and vintage arm candy.
Looking fabulous in authentic retro attire – incredible floor length green hexagon dress, Hawaiian shirts and statement brooches.
As the bubbles were passed around the food flowed and the team at QAGOMA Catering did not disappoint! Stunningly presented and delicious tasting canapés were on constant rotation from Gourmet Mini Beef Burgers where the juicy pattie was just as thick as the bun, Pistachio Goats Cheese with Beetroot, Watermelon and Prawn Shooters – which I can honestly say I had never tried or even heard of before but my taste buds certainly enjoyed the combination of sweet and salty – as well as Spicy Chicken and Celery in a bed of witlof (of which I had about 5….).
They also served the most incredible (and fittingly appropriate for the theme) California Rolls I have ever eaten! With sushi rice cooked to just the right sticky consistency rolled around fresh chunks of salmon, tangy mayo and creamy avocado sandwiched between two sesame wafer crisps it was an original and inventive take on the classic.
The exhibition itself is a marvelous celebration of the iconic motifs and quintessential prints, textiles and interiors of the era from the American west coast state. Don’t miss the symbolic and fabulous Eames chair; the original Oscar and Barbie’s dream Californian home as well as voluminous dresses, voluptuous bathing costumes and boldly hued fashions AND the original 1936 highly buffed and polished Airstream Clipper!
Oh and of course you can’t go past the pop-up gift shop. I am a sucker for gift shops and would spend a 45 minutes in each around Europe…perfectly located and ergonomically mapped out for maximum expenditure for someone such as myself! But the California Design Pop-up shop is über adorable with carefully sourced stock all within the theme of mid-twentieth century California design, architecture, textile and period pop-culture. Most definitely worth checking in…and then if you’re anything like me proceeding to the checkout with arms laden – from books to trinkets and statement pieces you’ll be sure to leave with something.
Enjoy the exhibition!