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Lectures & Workshops 

Our 2016 Lecture Series has finished for the year. We begin our 2017 lecture series in March when we return with an exciting  new series of Talks, Study Series and Workshops. The first of our lectures are now available for booking (with descriptions further below). Our full lecture programme will be up on our webpage and available for bookings in January 2017. In 2017 our What's On brochure will only be available in digital form.

Please use the bar on the right-hand side of the booking calendar below to see the full list of lectures programmed for each month.


The Johnston Collection is delighted to be a participant in the VAMFF 2017 ARTS PROGRAM with three special lectures in March.

HOW DOES A CHARACTER IN FICTION, BECOME A FASHION ICON? Fashion in Literature - Out Loud with Lise Rodgers is on Thursday 2 March 2017, HAUTE COUTURE HOUSES with Paola Di Trocchio is on Tuesday 7 March 2017 and REPRO RETRO | Channelling 40s, 50s and 60s styles with Lesley Sharon Rosenthal is on Thursday 9 March 2017.

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is an annual celebration of fashion, beauty, business and creative endeavour for everyone to enjoy.

Fashion in Literature - Out Loud with Lise Rodgers
Thursday 2 March 2017 | 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm

How does a character in fiction, become a fashion icon?
Why do we describe certain styles as being very Breakfast at Tiffany’s, very Gone with the Wind, or even, very Jane Austen, very Nancy Mitford.
How does a character’s clothing in a novel, become such an identifiable look in our minds that it takes on a life of its own. Going back to the source – the stories themselves – let’s meet some of these icons as they first appeared on the page.

LISE RODGERS is an accomplished Melbourne actress whose career has spanned stage, screen and radio. Widely known for her ongoing Jane Austen series of performances, it is her passion for the Spoken Word that inspires her series of performed readings – Literature Out Loud.

HAUTE COUTURE HOUSES with Paola Di Trocchio
Tuesday 7 March 2017, 10.00 am 11.30 am

The history of haute couture will be traced from its beginnings in the 19th century to its contemporary manifestation.  The construction of garments often engages interdisciplinary innovation along with often performative presentation. Currently at the forefront of design and experimentation, haute couture bridges an evocative intersection between past and future.  

Paola Di Trocchio is Curator, Fashion and Textiles at the NGV, Melbourne. She has worked on numerous exhibitions that have recently included ManStyle, Lace in Fashion, Drape: classical mode to contemporary dress, Black in Fashion: Mourning to Night and Remaking Fashion

REPRO RETRO | Channelling 40s, 50s and 60s styles with Lesley Sharon Rosenthal
Thursday 9th March 2017
10.00 am to 11.30 am
A curious phenomenon of 21st Century fashion is repro retro. Throughout Australia and the world, in workshops, private sewing rooms, even in Chinese factories, styles like Rockabilly, Pin-up, Madmen, WWII Land Girl, Lolita, Steam punk, Housewife etc. are being rebirthed into reproduction retro. With accents stolen from history and fabric print copies plucked particularly from the 40s, 50s and 60s, garments are reinterpreted for people nostalgic for a lost world of glamour, who wish to channel colour, character and charisma. Can repro retro clothing even top vintage originals? Is repro retro a backlash to today’s functional utilitarian sportswear looks? Lesley Sharon Rosenthal’s lecture will make you burn your puffer jacket!

LESLEY SHARON ROSENTHAL is a writer and filmmaker with a love of history. Her films Boutique Magnifique, and Chapel of Chic documented the history of Collins Street's fashion through its high-end boutiques and Chapel Street’s history of fashion over a 100 years