A Common Language – fashion illustrations from the archives

A Common Language, Drawings by Acton and Bouret is a project that grew out of an initiative started by the RMIT Design Archives, RMIT School of Art Project Space and RMIT Arts Management department. With artist Amy Middleton, I studied the archival drawings and material of Prue Acton and Alfredo Bouret, and then presented a display of the work in the RMIT library as part of the Drawing Out conference.

The visual aspect of clothing…is fundamental to knowing where we are in the world, who we are in the world and what the world seems to be. (Peter Corrigan)

While Acton’s collection is eclectic (ranging from her early life drawings to documentation of the uniforms designed for the various Olympics), Bouret’s collection more clearly follows his progression from early sketches through to the finished product. Bold colours were a theme across the two collections, which spanned a time period in the fashion industry from the 1940s to the 1990s. The selection chosen from the archives was only a small sample of the work studied, but sought to capture the personal quality of each artist.