step into paradise

In 1973 when Melbourne still had  evening broadsheet The Herald, the Saturday issue had what were, in those pre-CelebTrash days, referred to as 'human interest' features.   Now papers have less news than puff, but way back then, they did not.
(One time my journalist pal Jillian Burt wrote one on Andy Warhol and they said to her "we can't run that - nobody has ever heard of him".)

They did however, risk running one of these non-news pieces on a tiny new Sydney boutique in the very pretty Strand Arcade, called Flamingo Park. The feature was about the originality of Bondi-born Jenny Kee who founded it, and Beaumaris-born Linda Jackson who joined her shortly after.

The frocks illustrated were unusual and lovely, silky slinky and bias-cut in the 1930's style, from vintage patterned fabric - one was of lining silk, monogrammed all over with the name Letty Lynton and I wish I could see the gowns it had otherwise lined.  

Totally impressed,  I, dear reader, wrote them a fan letter.
When, in 1976  they came down south to Melbourne and showed their collection in a suite at The Windsor Hotel, a trunk show as the Americans call it when a store sets-up temporarily away from home base -  I got a backless, circular skirted silk gown called Harold Park (after the dog races I assume).
It ties at the neck, it has no buttons or zips.  
Here it is on my floor for a picture (left) 
and I have spread on it the description catalogues from 
3 of their Sydney collection launches I attended.

Here left,  is the parade card from Flamingo Follies on a close-up of the pretty floral.
When I moved to Sydney we became pals in the way shops do with good customers, and when they took their first trip to New York City they were clutching my streetmap, well-used and marked with all the best department store locations.

Geraldine Stutz at Henri Bendel the most stylish, the absolute biggest deal at that time, gave them an order.

They sent me Met shop postcards of Sonia Delaunay geometrics.

On the left,
one of Linda's Delaunay-inspired jackets 
(on a model)
and underneath, 
another on TV journalist 
Lyndall Hobbs in Melbourne before 
going to Los Angeles and directing Beach Blanket Bingo.
Lyndall was at the 1983 London wedding of Sydney model Gael McKay whose gown was also one of Linda's loveliest creations. Sienna's sister Savannah Miller was her flowergirl and other guests were Dodi Fayed, George Harrison, Ms Jerry Hall and singer Mick Jagger.

In 1976 I bought Linda's taffeta jacket
homage to Delaunay, and
 in 1979 a Cesarine sundress
with Delaunay pockets.
Both so very very 'Sydney Seventies' and
still looking cheerful hanging on
my gates today in Mount Helen
nearly 40 years on.

Jenny Kee is known for her knits designs
(you may recall seeing photos of Lady Diana 
Spencer wearing 
a koala pattern that Jenny gave her),
and which, 
when I bought one called 
The Wattle.
were created/realised, by
Jan Ayres.

Somewhere here on the left
or wherever Blogger decides to 
plonk the image,
 is Linda wearing it, 

(Linda photo copyright William Yang probably)

and then my color photo
as it looks today 
hanging in this room.

Bigger people than me love
Jenny and Linda's styles.
Powerhouse Museum NSW  has a lot of it, and now in Melbourne
a show at NGV Federation Square.

A colourful feast you have plenty of time to see
 as it runs until September.

Coincidentally, before Linda teamed with Jenny
she worked in Paris at Mia and Vicki,
who made my favourite frock, covered in my previous post you might like to read as well.
Thanks for your visit.
UPDATE 31st Jan: The Loupe has posted photos of the NGV opening night worth the clickthrough just to see Linda's incredible hair, and what Melbourne wears on a very hot day.
This image of the label in my dress, and all other images 
(except Lyndall*Hobbs and the model) are copyright Ann O'Dyne)


  1. I used to go to Flamingo Park to browse and gape. But never once did anyone there give any sign of recognising me for the penniless student I was! Thanx for the memories - I live in hope of finding a discard in an op shop ...

  2. I loved the opal look when it came out. It's featured in one of my Fashion Australia year books. The colours just glowed.

  3. What an incredible wardrobe you have!

    I love the fabric in the first frock, and the "very, very Sydney" one is so cute! It reminds me of big Raggedy Ann cheeks and childlike euphoria in its colours and shapes.

    You certainly are the go-to girl about town! We are so lucky to have you here in the blogosphere!

  4. Now, I was born in 1950 and grew up in Beaumaris! I don't remember Linda Jackson at all, but did hang out for a time with Linda Britten, another fabulous gown designer (mostly wedding dresses at the beginning). I always loved Jenny Kee's clothes. So many talented people came out of Beaumaris. Must have been the sea air!

  5. Bliss is a Beau-y girl!
    As was the lovely folksinger Judy Jacques.

  6. I Love The Colours! Are My Eyes Fading? Clothes Are Not As Bright These Days?

  7. Hi Tony, these clothes were out of sunny beachy SYDNEY, but let me remind you of 1972-3-4 Britain full of op-art colour, bright hotpants, David Hockney knits, satin etc. it was all primary colours.
    Celia Birtwell prints, Pablo and Delia fantasy clothes.
    Anyone in black then looked unusual, now Melbourne is known for being just about All Black at any public social event.