ART OF THE SCARF
1980 – Now
“I don’t want to be restricted by fashion whims – it’s too temporary – I think my work is about lasting” (Jenny Kee, 1980)
For the past 40 years Jenny Kee has remained a remarkable beacon within the Australian fashion industry. With a passionately joyous and distinctly Australian approach to her craft Kee has always worked within the fashion world from an artistic mindset, drawing on her love of Australian fauna and flora particularly the 45 million year old Waratah flower which she deems her totem. Kee’s art is a mix of vivaciously hand-painted chaotic collages – flowers, animals, exotic birds, opals and tropical fish. Kee was the first designer to place iconic Australiana references into prints for fashion and it feels beautifully relevant now just as it did in 1980.
The silk scarf is Kee’s way of allowing art to be worn on the body, favoured for the material’s fluidity, movement and grace. Influenced by Australian Indigenous art, tribal cultures and symbols, for Kee, each print shares a personal narrative. Interlinking these symbols and images across various mediums – oil crayons, acrylic, watercolours and Asian inks – one scarf can be constructed from 30 original artworks, all from the hand of Jenny Kee.
‘Art of the Scarf’ from 1980 - Now features seminal works from iconic vintage re-issues including the Black Opal print used in Karl Lagerfeld’s first collection for Chanel in 1982 – to exciting, fresh, new designs. All scarves are available to buy from the non seasonal collection that may be considered more like ‘works of art’ as new pieces are created and re-issues added over time; all proudly 100% Australian made with the highest quality silks. The scarves are the ultimate colour translation of Jenny Kee’s art.
Launched at Australian Fashion Week in 2012 in Kee’s first show since the 80’s, the Art of the Scarf from 1980 - Now presentation was summed up beautifully by Style.com writer Tim Blanks, ‘What we saw was fashion paganism at its purest, the models posed like towering goddesses in the sweet-smelling grove of eucalyptus and lemon myrtle that had been created in an unprepossessing show space. Kee was honouring not just nature but also fashion for its power to elevate and transform – as it has done in her own life – so it seemed entirely appropriate that her return to fashion should be a transcendent experience.’