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The Undead: Aurelio Costarella

The Undead: Aurelio Costarella

This weekend I finally attended the Aurelio Costarella exhibit at the Perth Museum. I’ve always loved his work – I remember when I was just out of high school and his label was named ‘Ray Costarella’ in those days. The designs were very clean with straight edges – a far cry from what you are used to seeing today, but still amazing in workmanship and allure. I coveted one of the tunic dresses, but alas my bartenders wage didn’t support it.














In those days, my friend Rita and I would sneak into fashion events and if we were feeling particularly bold, sit in the front row. There we’d be, sipping champagne and wearing sunglasses like pros, except that it would have probably been painfully obvious that we were just 18.. or slightly younger in some cases.

This exhibit showed examples of Aurelio’s work from the last 30 years, and with the backdrop of the WA Museum, it was stunning and a little creepy. Just the way I like my exhibits. The silent, faceless models are all posed amongst exhibits, from taxidermied mammals to the grand skeleton of a dinosaur. Some are posed in a somewhat horrifying manner – some holding a ragged finger to where their lips might be, as if we would disturb the long dead animals they were standing with.

I thought it was awesome, a great way to meld art and fashion with history and perspective. Much more interesting than a straight runway show or a bleak exhibit of mannequins in a hall. Aurelio loves entertainment and putting on a spectacle for his guests – see more of this at the Open Air Fashion at Sydney’s Botanical Gardens last week.


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