You Can’t Do That

MM You Can't Do ThatSometimes, hearing ‘you can’t do that!’ can be the perfect provocation to show what you’re really made of. A new exhibition opening at Melbourne Museum this Friday will highlight six Melbourne fashion figures who heard ‘you can’t’ and showed that they could.

The stories of influential models and designers Stella Dare, Prue Acton, Lois Briggs, Jenny Bannister, Christopher Graf and Andreja Peji? demonstrate how they turned oppositioned into opportunity, and in doing so, left their mark on Australian and international fashion.

From Stella Dare’s lavish suits that broke away from war austerity in the 1950s, to Andreja Peji?’s journey from a Broadmeadows refugee to a transgender supermodel, You Can’t Do That charts the success of true originals in fashion.

Graeme Lewsey, CEO, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival said You Can’t Do That Out provides a compelling cultural experience for Festival visitors.

“After two years of using the stunning backdrop of the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum precinct, we are thrilled and proud to be working with the creative teams within Museums Victoria to bring the stories and history of groundbreaking fashion figures to the Festival’s Arts Program,” said Lewsey.

You Can’t Do That is Melbourne Museum’s first exhibition co-presented with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Michael Reason, Curator, Museums Victoria said that You Can’t Do That enables visitors to get an insight into the influential figures that create fashion rather than follow it. “You Can’t Do That shines a spotlight on six influential figures who’ve created memorable fashion moments through the decades, starting in the 1950s and incorporating a remarkable story of today,” said Reason.

“Displays styled as shop windows within the exhibition will follow their unique paths to success and capture the spirit of the time, with original garments from the designers and footage from catwalks, both old and new, on display.”

You Can’t Do That
Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Exhibition: 2 March – 15 July 2018
Entry included with museum entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Prue Acton’s burgundy velvet mini jacket won an award at the Australian Wool Board fashion awards in coat, c. 1968 (detail). Copyright Athol Shmith. Courtesy of Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art and RMIT Design Archive.