There’s a room in the Bendigo Art Gallery that sums up the Goldfields city right now. Dark blooms adorn the floor, walls and ceiling in an explosion of pattern and petals. In the centre nine dramatic Toni Maticevski gowns hold court. Yes, this season in Bendigo, it’s all about fashion and florals.
Australian designer Maticevski is the latest name to lure the masses to the renowned art gallery at the heart of Bendigo’s creative culture. The major exhibition defies perceived fashion boundaries; his work is very much at home in the art space. Maticevski: Dark Wonderland is on show until November 20.
Beyond the gallery walls, Bendigo’s spring homage to fashion continues. At the Living Arts Space in Pall Mall designers Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee invite visitors to explore the work of their label Flamingo Park. The long-time friends began celebrating Australian flora, fauna and Indigenous culture via bold, bright garments in the 1970s and 80s. The exhibition features many of these iconic early works, plus Kee’s new knitwear and silk scarf collection and Jackson’s vibrant paintings. Flamingo Park and Beyond is on show until November 6.
Kee and Jackson will speak at La Trobe University’s Visual Art Centre as part of Bendigo Fashion Festival. The tenth annual festival features markets of pre-loved and street-style clothing and a runway show at the Ulumbarra Theatre. Bendigo boutiques, big name brands and local designers’ work feature under lights in a show to that proves this regional city’s worth in the fashion stakes. It’s happening from October 7 to 10.
What better way to wash down these festivities than with a drop or two of local wine. The city’s biggest food and wine celebrations coincide on October 8 and 9, being Bendigo Heritage Uncorked and Heathcote Wine and Food Festival. And in a Bendigo-first, the goldfields-era mansion Fortuna will host Heritage After Dark; a casual food and wine affair within the grand Fortuna estate.
Where is the flora you ask? Until mid-October, you can’t miss the blooms. Each year 30,000 tulips adorn Pall Mall and the Conservatory Garden. Curator talks and tours outline the love and care that goes into the annual display, adored by visitors and locals alike. And further afield in the bush around Bendigo, wildflowers rule; wattle brightens dark ironbark trunks and delicate orchids emerge in the understory. It is, quite simply, an exquisite time to visit.