The Designers Guide Easton Pearson Archive

In 2017 Easton Pearson, in partnership with Brisbane-based philanthropist and art patron Dr Paul Eliadis, gifted its archive of more than 3300 garments and 5000 objects and ephemera to the Museum of Brisbane. A small selection of garments is about to go on show in Queensland.

written by Mitchell Oakley-Smith

In 2016, after nearly three decades in business, the co-founders and creative directors of Australian fashion business Easton Pearson called it quits. Certainly the impact of the contemporary fashion system took its toll; the demand for a constant supply of product to satiate consumer desire, and the cost-competitive climate, have driven margins down and made physical labour disposable. But unlike other local businesses pinched by the influx of low-cost retailers, Brisbane-based Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson made the decision on their own terms. As they explained via a media statement at the time: “This is a time to re-evaluate and put some balance back into our lives … We are looking forward to new challenges and adventures, exploring different opportunities we haven’t been able to accept before.”

And where Easton Pearson’s narrative further differs from those of other Australian businesses impacted post-GFC is in the creative legacy of its designers. One of Australia’s first true internationally recognised brands, Easton Pearson had an aesthetic of cultural eclecticism. Bold, bright colours, like canary yellow and hot pink, speak to the Holi Phagwa – the annual Indian festival of colours – where the designers regularly travelled for inspiration and to engage craftspeople; meanwhile, intricate embroideries and hand-painted finishes, regularly applied to silk sundresses, brought new life to age-old techniques. Due to the house’s geographic proximity to Asia, Easton Pearson’s aesthetic was a mélange of Asia-Pacific cultures mediated through the designers’ extensive travels and experiences and made manifest through their handmade techniques and... Subscribe to read this article in full

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