'Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.' ― Coco Chanel

In Hollywood Costume (2012) Valerie Steele writes: 'fashion is usually defined as the prevailing style of dress at any given time, with the implication that it is characterised, above all, by change… Fashion is also a system, involving not only the production and consumption of fashionable clothes but also discourses and imagery'. Some of these discourses and imagery are showcased in Fashion Rules OK, revealing both the allure and the work of fashion. Drawing on a diverse collection of books, magazines, and objects, Fashion Rules OK samples the breadth and diversity of writing on this subject, and offers a glimpse below the surface of appearances. Perspectives range from the world of couture, the peripheries of production, and childhood fashions, to Chinese dress, the runway, and the laundry. It presents the highs and lows of fashion style from the Regency period to the Moderns; some iconic Fashion Greats; and aspects (often forgotten) such as fashion etiquette, fashion marketing, fashion theory, and costume. Although for want of space some important areas of fashion writing are neglected here, the exhibition is not so much a stocktake as an exploration of contrasts. Taken together, Fashion Rules OK aims to show the ubiquity of fashion in the history of daily life.

Fashion OK exhibition poster [1.3MB PDF]

Fashion OK exhibition handlist [2.2MB PDF]


Le Costume Historique….Vol. 4
Le Costume Historique….Vol. 4
Le Costume Historique….Vol. 4
Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
New Zealand Fashion Quarterly
Harper’s Bazaar (Australia)
Life in London, or, The day and night scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and his elegant friend, Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the metropolis
The Ladies’ Gazette of Fashion
The Ladies’ Gazette of Fashion
Vogue. Vol. 118, no. 1
A Fashion Parade: The Seeberger Collection
Australian Home Journal
Christian Dior
Photograph from Dior: 60 Years of Style from Christian Dior to John Galliano
Photograph of Yves Saint Laurent from Dior: 60 Years of Style from Christian Dior to John Galliano
Issey Miyake
Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli
Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute. A History from the 18th to the 20th Century
New Zealand Fashion Quarterly. High Summer
Avice Bowbyes
The Clothing Budget
Invitations to Avice Bowbyes from Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, and the International Wool Secretariat, [1964]
Letter from Dominique Mondon, Molyneux, to Avice Bowbyes
Model 426 ‘Belgique’
Collection Jolie Madame for the Autumn
Collection Jolie Madame for the Autumn
Pierre Balmain, Invitation for Miss A. Bowbyer (sic),
Pierre Balmain
Model 62 ‘Geranium’
Model 67 ‘Angora’
Louis Vuitton Purse Merchandising Boxes
Louis Vuitton Purse Merchandising Box
Where’s Karl? A Fashion-Forward Parody
Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time
Nadia Fairfax blog page
small girl blogging
Karen Walker Exclusive
Dazed & Confused. Vol. IV
Black Magazine. Issue 23
Pipi From Paris (Lollipop Girls). Inaugural Edition
Life in the Chinese Royal Household, 1890s and The Tea Industry in China
Through China with a camera
The Glass of Fashion: Some Social Reflections by a Gentleman with a Duster. 3rd edition
On Human Finery
A guide to elegance: For every woman who wants to be well and properly dressed on all occasions
Debrett’s Etiquette and Modern Manners
Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches
The Dictionary of Fashion History
The Language of Fashion: A Dictionary and Digest of Fabric, Sewing, and Dress
English Children’s Costume Since 1775
Top outfits for teenage dolls
Doll's clothing
Simple Garments for Children (From 4 to 14)
English Costume of the Seventeenth Century
English Costume
Costume Throughout the Ages
Robes of Thespis: Costume Designs by Modern Artists
Robes of Thespis: Costume Designs by Modern Artists
Pen, paper & a box of paints: Albert Rutherston, illustrator and designer for the stage
Dress: The Evolution of Cut and its Effect on Modern Design
You and Your Clothes
Things to Wear
Modern Laundry Production
The Fashion Book
Lingerie. A Lexicon of Style
Bill Cunningham’s New York
The Culture of Fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress
The Psychology of Clothes
The House of Viktor & Rolf
Time Magazine
Barbie and Ken
Photograph of Carole Lombard from Hollywood Costume
Photograph from Fashion: The Century of the Designer, 1900-1999
Social Caricature in the Eighteenth Century
Social Caricature in the Eighteenth Century
The History of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire….5th edition
American Fabrics, Number 21
American Fabrics, Number 21
The New Zealand Woman's Weekly,
Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
Trousers & the Most Important Precious Ornament
Prestige Spring Collection
On the crest of fashion
Meldrums Ltd. Box


Special Collections, University of Otago Library, Dunedin, New Zealand