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ON DISPLAY

Portrait of Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke (Sass & Bide)
, 2008

by Deborah Paauwe

inkjet print on paper (frame: 82.0 cm x 157.0 cm)

Sarah-Jane ‘Sass’ Clarke (right) (b. 1974) and Heidi ‘Bide’ Middleton (b. 1971) founded the fashion label sass & bide. The women met in Brisbane and began selling customised jeans at Portobello Road markets while living in London in the mid-1990s. Returning to Australia in 1999, they established a tiny sass & bide outlet with a small loan. With the launch of their skintight, extreme-hipster jeans, their business skyrocketed and they made their international debut in London in 2003. They went on to show regularly in New York, position their label in some 200 stores around the world and secure a place on the BRW list of Australia’s richest people under 40. Myer bought out sass & bide in late 2013, and Clarke and Middleton severed ties with the brand in 2014.

Deborah Paauwe was born in the USA and came to Australia in 1985 with her family. She studied art in Adelaide and then London, and has since become known for her beguiling, sometimes unsettling images exploring themes such as innocence and vulnerability, often featuring girls and women in vivid, retro or ultra-feminine garments. This commissioned portrait is an example of the Gallery’s instigation of collaboration between subjects and practitioners who might never otherwise have come together.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2008
Accession number: 2008.109