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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

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

2008
Deborah Paauwe

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

Sarah-Jane 'Sass' Clarke AM (right) (b. 1974) and Heidi 'Bide' Middleton AM (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 $70,000 loan. With the launch of their super-low-slung jeans, their business skyrocketed and in 2001 they showed at Australian Fashion Week. After meeting Sarah Jessica Parker, who wore their clothes on Sex and the City, they made their international debut at London Fashion Week in 2002, followed by New York Fashion Week in 2003. They went on to position their label in about 200 stores around the world and secure a place on the BRW Young Rich list. Myer bought out Sass & Bide in 2013, and Clarke and Middleton severed ties with the brand in 2014. Clarke established her own label, Sarah-Jane Clarke, in 2018, while Middleton launched Artclub in 2019, combining her own paintings with eco-friendly fashion.

Deborah Paauwe is known for her beguiling, sometimes unsettling images exploring themes such as innocence and vulnerability, often featuring women in vivid, vintage or ultra-feminine garments. This commissioned portrait shows the designers wearing Sass & Bide's iconic blend of prints, colour, metallics and sequins.

Commissioned with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2008
© Deborah Paauwe

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Deborah Paauwe (age 36 in 2008)

Sarah-Jane Clarke AM (age 34 in 2008)

Heidi Middleton (age 37 in 2008)

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

Supported by

Marilyn Darling AC (30 portraits supported)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

Uncommon Australians

The vision of Gordon and Marilyn Darling

Previous exhibition, 2015

This exhibition showcases portraits acquired through the generosity of the National Portrait Gallery’s Founding Patrons, L Gordon Darling AC CMG and Marilyn Darling AC.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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