Historical information

The Fashion & Design collection of the Kew Historical Society includes examples of women’s, men’s, children’s and infants’ clothing from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Items in the collection were largely produced for, or purchased by women in Melbourne, and includes examples of outerwear, protective wear, nightwear, underwear and costume accessories.


This example of evening wear from 1980 is one of two pieces in the collection owned and worn by Kaye Cole.This dress was bought for and worn by Cr Kaye Cole, Mayor of Kew 1979/80, to a Mayoral Dinner on Friday 25 July 1980. An accompanying seating plan lists the attendees including the Governor of Victoria, the Victorian Premier, State and Federal parliamentary representatives and distinguished guests from neighbouring municipalities. The evening dress was donated to the Society by Kaye Cole on the occasion of an interview on 6 August 2018 relating to the period on which she served on Kew Council as a representative of North Ward (1973-6) and Prospect Ward (1978-85) and her achievements as mayor.

Physical description

Brown acetate evening gown, and floor-length evening coat retailed by Bianca, Sydney, and manufactured under licence to Henry Chavan, Lyon & Paris. The sheer fabric of the coat is decorated by the use of pile weave, forming a floral pattern of velvet outlined in gold thread.