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Prue Acton
, 2012

by David Roberts

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 35.8 cm x 28.0 cm, image: 34.7 cm x 26.9 cm)

Prue Acton OBE (b. 1943) completed a Diploma of Art, majoring in Textiles, in Melbourne in 1962. The following year, with a loan from her parents, she started her own company in Flinders Lane. Following a successful visit to New York in 1967, she was the first Australian designer to break into the American market and was dubbed 'Australia's Mary Quant'. Moving from fun youth-oriented gear to more flowing, hippy-chic styles as she aged, Acton received a number of awards during her career, including five Australian Wool Board Awards, three David Jones Awards for Fashion Excellence and four Fashion Industry of Australia Lyrebird Awards. Throughout her career, Acton maintained the motto 'ageless, timeless, and priceless.' The Melbourne Museum and Powerhouse Museum both have large collections of outfits from the pioneering designer. Having closed her business in the late 1980s, she now paints full-time, and is a prominent spokesperson for the environment of the south coast of New South Wales, where she lives. Acton was featured on an 'Australian Legends' stamp in 2005 and received an honorary doctorate from RMIT in 2007.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purcahsed 2012
Accession number: 2012.124