Dreaming of Chanel Exhibition at QUT- Photos!

"Inheriting a priceless vintage clothing collection from my American godmother Doris Darnell was unexpected, exciting and downright scary... But the day I pulled back the packing tape on the first box and gingerly lifted out this first dress...gossamer silk, covered in glittering silver and white glass beads...I was enchanted, as Doris knew I would be."

I was privileged to visit the Dreaming of Chanel Exhibition at QUT with two of my friends, Theresa and Janet.  They have had a great deal of input into my sewing and design education, and today we had a great time geeking out over couture.

It’s a small exhibition, but well chosen.  Make sure to go before it closes on the 16th- I’m so glad we went today.

The show was free and they let me take photos.  The point of the show and the book is to share the beauty of these garments- both the technical and the emotional aspects.  Real women lived inside these clothes- every garment has a story.  I like that they haven’t been restored where damaged.

The program includes extracts from the book Dreaming of Chanel by Charlotte Smith.  I copied those extracts I found interesting (in quotation marks), and added some of our own observations.  I miss sharing experiences like this with my mom and girlfriends, so I thought I’d make a gallery.  I do apologize that some of the descriptions overrun the slideshow borders, but they’re still readable, right?

Charlotte, if you’re reading this and you want me to take it down, let me know.  I’m not making money off of this, I just want to share your inspiring dresses and their stories.  If I promise to put on white gloves and be careful, can I please please please inspect more of Doris’ clothes?

By the way, you may see the gold brocade dress with the mink trimming crop up sometime in the next few months.   I have the perfect fabric for it and an old piece of fur I want to play with…


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  1. Wish I could have seen this, those gowns are gorgeous. Have you seen the movie “Coco Before Chanel”? I saw it on the plane going overseas in June.

    • I love that movie! I would happily watch Audrey Tatou read the phone book, and Chanel is a never-ending source of inspiration to me even though I don’t really dig her style…. Her concepts, they are amazing…

  2. Thank you for the gorgeous slide show Steph. I loved looking at the garments ‘close up’ through your camera lens and your comments added to it all. Looks like you all had a lovely day together.

  3. I’ve worn that polka dot dress! And the gold Ceil Chapman number. :-)) Wish we could have the exhibition down here. Charlotte is doing such a great job showcasing her amazing clothes!!

    • What? How? When? Why didn’t you invite me??? ;)

      More importantly, do you have pictures? Hmm?

      Awesome. What was it like to wear the pieces? I was so blown away by the high level of craftsmanship, both from the designers (really obvious) to other pieces like the silk-painted polka dot one. (I wish I had realized what a blurry photo I got at the time. Oh wells.)

  4. Stunning! Thank you for sharing with us. I think a small show of well edited pieces is even better than an all encompassing show. Every garment you showed us is a real gem.

  5. Oh wow! I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve saved a few pics for my own inspiration file. :D There’s just so much to be inspired by! I adore that dress with the floral tunic-style thing ontop. I love the asymmetry of the top and all the lovely details. Especially the fabric!

    What a great trip for you and your friends. Thank you for sharing with us! Wish I could go myself. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that she decides to bring the whole shebang to Winnipeg! :D

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