Fashion exhibits coming to Victoria - on and off the field

the chanel exhibition at the ngv in melbourne victoria

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted September 07, 2021

From fashion week catwalks to iconic designer exhibits online, it’s time to let out your inner fashionista and look to better times ahead with these couture events around Victoria.  

The month of September signifies many things in the turn of the season - the start of spring, footy finals, the chance to play Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’ on repeat, and of course, fashion festivals galore!

Whilst lockdown has left many feeling flat, these events give us something to look forward to, where we can get excited about spring and summer wardrobes for when we are out and about once again. 

Highlighted in the Northern Hemisphere as the end of their summer and getting back to a ‘fresh start’ for their calendar year, here, it’s all about welcoming the warmer weather with brighter prints, less layers and a chance to frolic amongst the fashion set. Down Under, we have followed the trend of a (usually!) stylish September, with 2021’s Fashion Week front and centre, Spring Racing season, and the chance to take off our winter puffer coats and engage in fun fashion once it is safe to again. 

To celebrate, let’s look forward to the top five fashion events that will be coming to Victoria, where you can finally let out your inner fashionista.  

Fashion events in Victoria in 2021


Melbourne Fashion Week –  Melbourne City and online

11-17 Oct 2021. Cost: Price per event.

Style lovers rejoice, for the biggest fashion occasion in the country is here! Melbourne Fashion Week will run over 150 events, including runway shows, exhibitions and business partner pop-ups in spaces around the city and online. The City of Melbourne delivers the fashion experiences to ‘position Melbourne as the fashion capital of Australia’ while supporting the ‘vibrant fashion and retail community.’ Trend setters, assemble! 

Melbourne Fashion Week shows and exhibitions 2021

Melbourne Fashion Week will be showcasing the latest trends for Spring/Summer 2021 and beyond. Image: Getty. 


Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto - NGV, Melbourne

5 Dec 2021 – 25 April 2022. Cost: From $10-$30. 

What many sartorial lovers have long been waiting for has been confirmed: the Chanel exhibit is finally coming to our shores. From December 2021, Melbourne’s NGV will be exclusively hosting ‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto,’ an exhibit that chronicles the fashion designer’s career from her very first boutique to her influence on modern-day women and designers worldwide.  

The exhibit’s first stop after Paris features over 100 garments from the House of Chanel ‘unfolded across several chronological and thematic sections,’ as well as her sketches, cosmetics, perfume and accessories as she became an icon of style for generations to come. As Coco Chanel once said, ‘Fashion fades. Only style remains the same.’ 

The Cococ Chanel exhibition at the NGV in Melbourne 2021

In a fashion coup, the NGV in Melbourne is the first international stop for the 'Gabriel Chanel. Fashion Manifesto' exhibition after Paris. Image: Getty. 


Accessorised for the Occasion - Wangaratta, High Country and online

On until 26 Sep 2021. Cost: Free.

New York fashion icon Iris Apfel stated that the key to style is to ‘put your money into accessories. You could create a million different looks.’ This is celebrated approximately three hours out of Melbourne at Wangaratta’s Visitor Information Centre Community Exhibition Gallery. On display here and coming online is 'Accessorised for the Occasion', an exhibit showcasing the accessories made popular by the elite fashion set from the 1880s-1960s. Think bags, shoes, gloves and parasols from local collectors, with a focus on Wangaratta’s local retailers who were instrumental in sourcing fabrics and inspiration for the articles shown.


Often overlooked, Accessories for the Occasion give us a chance to look at the art of what pulls an outfit together. Image: Visit Melbourne. 


Queer - NGV, Southbank, Melbourne

10 Dec 2021- 5 June 2022. Cost: Free.

TV’s new king of fashion, Queer Eye’s Tan France, states that ‘You being your true self isn't going to offend anybody.’ Whilst not solely focused on fashion, 'Queer' is designed to showcase queer stories through art - including fashion and design - as a form of expression, political movement and attitude. The exhibit features over 300 works from yesteryear to present times and is stated by the NGV to be ‘the most historically expansive thematic presentation of its kind ever presented by an Australian art institution.’

Queer exhibition at the NGV in Melbourne 2021

Queer will have over 300 works, inclduing fashion, on show. Image: Getty. 


The Spring Racing Carnival – in and around Melbourne

19 Oct – 9 Dec 2021. Cost: Price per event.

What a smashing, positively dashing, spectacle: the Ascot opening day!

A big one on many Victorian calendars, the Melbourne Cup Carnival has horse races, yes, but all clothes lovers will know that the most exciting part is the fashion!  

There’s plenty of fun for fashionistas to have at events around the state, such as Derby Day, which is strictly black and white themed, or Melbourne Cup Day, the ‘the race that stops a nation’,’ which features the boldest fashion and craziest headpieces. You could even consider entering the prestigious ‘Fashions on the Field' competition if your outfit is stunning enough to take the judges' breath away.  

The Spring Racing Carnival is always a fashion highlight.

The Spring Racing Carnival is always a fashion highlight. Image: Getty. 


Whether you are looking to dress up yourself at one of the many spring fashion events around the state, or you just want to watch the fashions on the field on tv, there’s plenty of fun to be had during the spring fashion season in Victoria. As Coco Chanel herself once said: ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’ So go out and explore all the fashion the state has to offer.

After a fashionable day out, why not make a night of it in Melbourne's stylish CBD?
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