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Southgate presents a unique fashion exhibition 'Ophelia ‒ The Timeless Woman' for MSFW 2015


Inspired by one of Melbourne’s most iconic art sculptures, Southgate Melbourne has collaborated with Maggie Journal to host a distinctive exhibition exploring the intersections of theatre and fashion for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) from 28 August until 4 September 2015. The colourful mosaic statue Ophelia known to many as “the face of Melbourne” is by artist Deborah Halpern who describes her as Melbourne’s own version of Shakespeare’s Ophelia.

As if the heart of the city were her Hamlet, Ophelia is “wistful, sad, in love…living her whole life with the people of Melbourne, wistfully looking at the river,” says Deborah.

The exhibition, titled 'Ophelia The Timeless Woman', will explore the intersections between theatre, costume, fashion and character. It will feature works from some of Melbourne’s most exciting emerging costume and fashion designers including Aya the Label, Marlow and Grump, Prebared, Madame Buttons, Penny Drop and Elisa Keeler. Each designer will create a garment reimagining Shakespeare’s Ophelia at a different era throughout history.

Maggie Journal, a live art journal and curator of the exhibition, has hand picked a diverse range of collaborating artists and designers, with an eclectic array of aesthetics and backgrounds. “Our designers inspirations range from the intricate garments of Paris runways to the playful costumes of Australian theatre stages. With such an array of diverse styles and influences, we can’t wait to see their recreations of Ophelia through the ages.

There’s no doubt it will be a visual feast for theatre lovers and fashion addicts alike,” says Annie Ferguson, curator and founder of Maggie Journal. Ophelia is the classic the symbol of a woman lost in love, betrayed by her lover and rejected by her father. Popular culture often represents her in a white dress with a wreath of fresh flowers in her hair, although the interpretations of her character and style are limitless. Theatrical costume designer, milliner and seamstress Madame Buttons, has been hard at work on her creation. Her designs are colourful, with bold colours, stripes and fantastical styling. “Ophelia is often painted as a virginal character, but Hamlet sees her as a symbol of sexuality.

My garment begins with an ethereal chiffon bustier and flowing gown inspired by Elizabethan undergarments, lifted by twinkles of bold colour, revealing an undertone of sexuality,” says Madame Buttons. Madame Buttons has four collections and a number of theatrical showcases under her belt, and recently returned from South East Asia where she studied the tribal costume-making techniques of the Burmese and Lao hill tribes.

'Ophelia The Timeless Woman' will be launched with an opening event on 28 August. 


Southgate is home to a diverse range of restaurants and bars, including the newly opened cocktail bar Waterslide Bar, and new in 2014 Italian restaurant and wine bar ARTUSI and Bavarian bier hall Hophaus. A range of boutique retailers including vintage and fair trade fashion, designer homewares, art deco jewellery and antique art can also be found within the precinct. During the warmer months, the atrium is home to Southgate Cinema, Melbourne’s only silent cinema.

Located in the heart of Melbourne; Southgate restaurant and shopping precinct is adjacent to the Arts Centre Melbourne on the Yarra River, opposite the sprawling heritage listed Flinders Street Station. When: 7:00am-10:00pm Friday 28 August – Friday 4 September What: 'Ophelia - The Timeless Woman' is a unique Melbourne Spring Fashion Week exhibition at Southgate, curated by Maggie Journal.

A reimagining of Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the exhibition will feature purpose designed garments by Aya the Label, Marlow and Grump, Prebared, Madame Buttons, Penny Drop and Elisa Keeler. Where: The exhibition will be located across the mid and upper levels of Southgate, adjacent to fashion retailers American Rag and Origen on the upper level, and homewares retailers Aqua J and Spoilt Homewares on the mid level. No bookings required. This is a free exhibition.