Historical information

This light woollen evening dress is made from Peppinella, a new fabric Norma Tullo introduced into her range in 1973. The fabric was used exclusively by Tullo, and came from the wool of Peppin Merino (first introduced into Australia in 1858 by the Peppin brothers). According to the papers of the day Tullo’s 1973 winter collection featured ‘St. Trinian’s styles to garments dripping lace, in bold plain colours to floral prints.” Shirley Lyle designed the floral fabric. Norma Tullo (1935-2019) was one of the leading fashion designers of her time, establishing her label in 1956. After establishing a business the Old Metropole Arcade in Melbourne in 1956, with three sewing machines, Tullo's ready to wear fashions for young women became sought after, and her business flourished. In 1966 the Japanese department store chain Isetan Co Ltd began to mass-produce her garments for their stores across Japan. Tullo closed her label in 1977, and later worked for Fletcher Jones.

Ann Carew, 2020


The dress is historically significant as a dress designed by Norma Tullo, a leading fashion designer of the 1960s and 1970s. During this period the Australian Wool Industry strove to promote wool, and to develop light woollen fabrics to compete with new synthetic fibres such as rayon. The garment is historically significant for the use of a merino wool showcasing its versatility for dress fabrics.

Physical description

Full length woman's dress with full skirt and long sleeves, collared with open neck and pleat work on bodice. Material is predominately red with a repeated pattern featuring posie of blue and mauve flowers.

Inscriptions & markings

Inscribed, black label on back neck left of zip, 'TULLO/IN/PEPPINELLA/AUSTRALIA MERINO WOOL'; Inscribed, white satin label on back neck right of zip, 'DRY CLEAN ONLY'; Inscribed, white satin label underneath above label, 'SIZE 12/To Fit Bust 34"/To Fit Waist