‘Ophelia ‒ The Timeless Woman’ exhibition

Southgate presents a unique fashion exhibition ‘Ophelia ‒ The Timeless Woman’ for MSFW 2015

Inspired by one of Melbourne’s most iconic art sculptures, Southgate Melbourne has collaborated with Maggie Journal to host a distinctive exhibition exploring the intersections of theatre and fashion for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) from 28 August until 4 September 2015.

The colourful mosaic statue Ophelia known to many as “the face of Melbourne” is by artist Deborah Halpern who describes her as Melbourne’s own version of Shakespeare’s Ophelia.

As if the heart of the city were her Hamlet, Ophelia is “wistful, sad, in love…living her whole life with the people of Melbourne, wistfully looking at the river,” says Deborah.

The exhibition, titled ‘Ophelia ‒ The Timeless Woman’, will explore the intersections between theatre, costume, fashion and character.

It will feature works from some of Melbourne’s most exciting emerging costume and fashion designers including Aya the Label, Marlow and Grump, Prebared, Madame Buttons, Penny Drop and Elisa Keeler. Each designer will create a garment reimagining Shakespeare’s Ophelia at a different era throughout history.

Maggie Journal, a live art journal and curator of the exhibition, has hand picked a diverse range of collaborating artists and designers, with an eclectic array of aesthetics and backgrounds.

“Our designers inspirations range from the intricate garments of Paris runways to the playful costumes of Australian theatre stages. With such an array of diverse styles and influences, we can’t wait to see their recreations of Ophelia through the ages. There’s no doubt it will be a visual feast for theatre lovers and fashion addicts alike,” says Annie Ferguson, curator and founder of Maggie Journal.

Ophelia is the classic the symbol of a woman lost in love, betrayed by her lover and rejected by her father. Popular culture often represents her in a white dress with a wreath of fresh flowers in her hair, although the interpretations of her character and style are limitless.

Theatrical costume designer, milliner and seamstress Madame Buttons, has been hard at work on her creation. Her designs are colourful, with bold colours, stripes and fantastical styling.

“Ophelia is often painted as a virginal character, but Hamlet sees her as a symbol of sexuality.
My garment begins with an ethereal chiffon bustier and flowing gown inspired by Elizabethan undergarments, lifted by twinkles of bold colour, revealing an undertone of sexuality,” says Madame Buttons.

Madame Buttons has four collections and a number of theatrical showcases under her belt, and recently returned from South East Asia where she studied the tribal costume-making techniques of the Burmese and Lao hill tribes.

‘Ophelia ‒ The Timeless Woman’ will be launched with an opening event on 28 August, with details coming soon.

A video of Deborah Halpern restoring and installing Ophelia to its current position on the Southgate promenade is available here.

Southgate is home to a diverse range of restaurants and bars, including the newly opened cocktail bar Waterslide Bar, and new in 2014 Italian restaurant and wine bar ARTUSI and Bavarian bier hall Hophaus. A range of boutique retailers including vintage and fair trade fashion, designer homewares, art deco jewellery and antique art can also be found within the precinct. During the warmer months, the atrium is home to Southgate Cinema, Melbourne’s only silent cinema.

Located in the heart of Melbourne; Southgate restaurant and shopping precinct is adjacent to the Arts Centre Melbourne on the Yarra River, opposite the sprawling heritage listed Flinders Street Station.

When: 7:00am-10:00pm Friday 28 August – Friday 4 September

What: ‘Ophelia – The Timeless Woman’ is a unique Melbourne Spring Fashion Week exhibition at Southgate, curated by Maggie Journal. A reimagining of Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the exhibition will feature purpose designed garments by Aya the Label, Marlow and Grump, Prebared, Madame Buttons, Penny Drop and Elisa Keeler.

Where: The exhibition will be located across the mid and upper levels of Southgate, adjacent to fashion retailers American Rag and Origen on the upper level, and homewares retailers Aqua J and Spoilt Homewares on the mid level.
No bookings required. This is a free exhibition.

About the designers
‘Ophelia The Timeless Woman’ will feature the work of some of Melbourne’s most exciting new fashion and costume designers, including recent graduates from RMIT’s School of Fashion & Textiles and participants in the MSFW Emerging Designer Market.

Aya the label

Aya is a composite of classic silhouettes and effortless style with a distinctive edge. Soft feminine sheers compliment and contrast sombre tones and unique fabrication. Aya places a strong focus on lush natural fibres and exceptional quality, often incorporating recycled fabrics to make exclusive and limited pieces.

Aya is the brainchild of Melbourne designer Amie Nihill. Amie studied Applied Fashion Design at the Melbourne School of Fashion and took part in the NEIS Program at RMIT in 2014. She was selected to contribute to the MSFW Emerging Designer Market in 2014 and also participated in Fair@Square, a runway show featuring work from ethical fashion labels.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/AyaTheLabel.

Elisa Keeler

Elisa is currently completing her Bachelor of Applied Science (Fashion Designer & Technology) at RMIT University. She creates pieces from recycled and up-cycled materials, with a clean and urban aesthetic.

For more information visit instagram.com/elisakeeler.

Madame Buttons

Madame Buttons is a costume designer, seamstress, milliner and performance artist who studied Costume Design at Swinburne University. Her label, also named Madame Buttons, is known for its theatricality, colourful prints and quirky nature. She creates made-to-order costumes, ready-wear clothing and playful accessories.

Her most recent body of work was presented at HYSTERIUM, a live exhibition in 2013 that included over 30 costumes and the full range of her Liquid Lycra collection.

For more information visit www.madamebuttons.com.au or www.facebook.com/Madame-Buttons.

Marlow and Grump

Marlow and Grump is Melbourne-based label that designs whimsical women’s wear with subtle sustainability in mind. Designer Ash Marlow is a Melbourne native who finds inspiration in texture and print, diverse cultures, nostalgia and the stars. After completing her Advanced Diploma at the Melbourne School of Fashion, Ash embarked on the journey that is now Marlow and Grump, where she spins her visions into ready-to-wear pieces.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/MarlowAndGrump or www.marlowandgrump.com.au.

Penny Drop

Penny Drop is a new Melbourne-based label created by Penny Hale, a graduate of RMIT’s School of Fashion & Textiles. Penny Drop’s aesthetic is vibrant, youthful and edgy. After growing up in the Wimmera region in western Victoria, Penny moved to Melbourne to pursue her love of fashion and all things pink.

For more information visit www.penny-drop.com.


Prebared is a brand new ethical fashion label created under the direction Tenielle Simonis and Cara Johnston. Prebared’s clothing is functional, thoughtful and beautiful, using a range of recycled material to create pieces that are kind to the environment.

Prebared was founded by Tenielle Simonis, who saw the problems in the fast fashion industry and planned to revolutionise the process, to slow things down and focus on quality over speed of production. Prebared’s designs are created by Cara Johnstone who is a recent graduate from RMIT’s School of Fashion & Textiles.

For more information visit http://www.prebared.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/prebared.

Downies Coins officially launches at Southgate

On Friday 29 May 2015 Downies held a special event to officially launch their new retail store at Southgate. CEO Ken Downie was on hand to host the launch of the store after relocating from the historic Block Arcade, where it resided for the past 21 years. Guests were given exclusive pre-release access to the latest in the Deadly & Dangerous Silver Coin Series dedicated to the vicious Bull Ant. Downies Coins & Collectables can be found on the upper level.

Tutto Bene ‘pop-up’ restaurant now open

Tutto Bene has celebrated over 10 years at Southgate and will now be undergoing a makeover during the winter break.

Tutto Bene fans need not stress, the team have packed ‘Benito’s’ bags and invited Artusi’s big brother to move in upstairs at their upper level location for a while with a TUTTO BENE POP UP!

The Artusi kitchen will prepare a selection of Tutto Bene’s favourite dishes – so come upstairs and see your familiar Tutto Bene team, where you can continue to enjoy their award winning risottos, as well as Artusi dishes. Contacts remain the same for all regular bookings – phone 03 9696 3334 and email admin@tuttobene.com.au.

Pop in to the new Pop Up!

Return of the original ‘Emperors’

Red Emperor has announced the return of Chef Hon Kau HUI to his post.

Hon Kau was at the helm of the Red Emperor kitchen from 1995 until it was sold to the current new owners in 2013. He returns with former key members Man Tim NG and Kam Tai HO.

Man Tim was the Head Chef until Hon Kau’s arrival in 1995. He left to work in Japan for many years. Kam Tai was Red Emperor’s Head Yum Cha Chef until 2013. Hon Kau came to Australia in 1984 under the Skilled Migration Program sponsored by legendary Flower Drum Restaurant founder Gilbert Lau. He worked at Flower Drum, then located in Little Bourke Street, and at its current Market Lane location for many years. He later worked in other restaurants and also set up his own business.

Hon Kau and his trusted, imaginative team are reinvigorating the Red Emperor menu, which will contain some hallmark Red Emperor dishes and exciting additions from a range of Chinese provinces using fresh local produce.

Owners of Red Emperor, John Lin and Lida Gao welcomed the return of the dynamic trio saying the team would be working hard to rebuild the restaurant’s reputation as one of the foremost Chinese dining experiences in Melbourne.

“We already have a big following with our Yum Cha, and want to also expand the dining experience for our customers by providing the best mix of Asian and Western cultures,” Ms Gao said.

Red Emperor Restaurant is located on the mid level of the Southgate complex, an easy walk to the CBD and adjacent to the booming apartment developments of Southbank.

Red Emperor is currently providing a dining and Chinese Cultural experience in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria which is hosting “A Golden Age of China” featuring the Qianlong Emperor’s reign 1736 to 1795, until 21 June 2015.

Giant Tasmanian King Crabs at Pure South!

From the deep, cold waters of the Tasmanian continental shelf comes this delicacy of the deep, Tasmanian King Crab.

The ‘Tasmanian King Crab’ is the largest of all Australian crabs and are fished ethically and sustainably. The species has been commercially fished under strict rules in Tasmanian waters since 1992.

King Crabs are reasonably plentiful and are found between 90 to 150 metres deep in the Bass Strait, off the east coast of Tasmania on the edge of the continental shelf.  It can weigh over 13kg and measure 36cm across the body and have arms with giant pincers around 46cm long.

Chef Ashley Davis from Pure South used them on the menu in a classic dish with house-made tagliatelle, and even an old school giant vol au vent.  The meat is so clean, sweet and delicious that you don’t want to mask the natural flavour, but rather lift it with the right garnish. Pure South hope to have them coming into the kitchen until the King Crab season ends in early June.

To see more fantastic photos and get some handy tips on how to handle live crabs check out the Pure South Journal.

Image credit – Pure South.