It was an elite group of the fashion industry who headed down to the harbour to hear the much anticipated winner of the annual elite Australian Fashion Laureate for 2013 on a wintery night.
Held in conjunction with IMG Fashion and the New South Wales government, as well as voted by a respected panel of industry professionals, nominees included designers Sarah Jane Clarke & Heidi Middleton of Sass and Bide and Nicky and Simone Zimmerman as well as esteemed industry veterans Nancy Pilcher and Nicholas Huxley, were celebrated at an event at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
However there could be only one winner and this year it was none other than an iconic contributor of fashion and the arts, the much loved Jenny Kee. Kee has had a stellar career, pioneering an exuberant new identity for Australian fashion in 1973 with the launch of her iconic Sydney Arcade store, Flamingo Park Frock Shop, Kee’s career was destined to be a colourful one. At a time when Australian fashion typically emulated European trends, Kee’s pieces were inspired by the Australian landscape and splashed with vibrant Australian fauna and flora prints. ‘Creating from the beauty of this country continues to inspire me. I feel honoured that the Australian fashion world still loves what I do 40 years on!’
Kee, who has received numerous commissions, including works for Parliament House in Canberra, the Australian Bicentenary and her breathtaking parade of costumes for the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has been featured in international magazines from Italian Vogue to New York’s Women’s Wear Daily. Her Opal designs were used by Chanel in Paris and her Koala knits worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, over a colourful career in Australian fashion. Jenny Kee now shares her artistic talents via Art of the Scarf from 1980 – Now. The inspired collection of silk scarves features seminal works from iconic vintage re-issues including the Black Opal print used in Karl Lagerfeld’s first collection for Chanel in 1982 – and exciting, fresh, new designs.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment, Andrew Stoner, congratulated Jenny Kee on her remarkable fashion career and on winning the award, saying, “I’m delighted to acknowledge this year’s Australian Fashion Laureate Jenny Kee, a true pioneer of Australian style who is renowned the world over for her vibrant and colourful designs. I would also like to recognise the nominees, all of whom represent the best of the Australian fashion industry.”
IMG Fashion’s Director of Strategy & Brand, Elle Persson, commented, ‘We would like to congratulate this year’s outstanding and diverse range of nominees who have significantly enhanced the Australian Fashion industry over the last 40 years. We would also like to thank the esteemed laureate panel for their year-on-year support of this prestigious event and we look forward to the future of this awards platform.’
Previous recipients of the respected Laureate award include acclaimed designers, Collette Dinnigan, Carla Zampatti, Easton Pearson and Akira Isogawa, as well Australian Fashion Week founder Simon Lock.
The Australian Fashion Laureate which is presented by The Weekend Australian Magazine, has partnered the awards ceremony, incorporating new categories to recognise the achievements of individuals and brands in womenswear, menswear, emerging designers and retailers. The esteemed Australian Fashion Laureate will remain as the honorary award acknowledging outstanding contribution to the growth, development and promotion of the Australian Fashion Industry.
In an industry which has been suffering immense hardship lately, it’s wonderful to see celebration and pay tribute to some of the serious talent we have in Australia.
A much well deserved win. Congratulations Jenny Kee xx