Kylie on Stage

Things to do, Exhibitions
"Showgirl" corset designed by John Galliano
Photograph: Ken McKay

Stage costumes by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Jean Paul Gaultier shine as Arts Centre Melbourne pays tribute to one of Australia’s brightest stars

Lavish designer costumes. Elaborate sets. An entourage of scantily clad male back-up dancers. You don’t have to be a Kylie fan to know that the pop princess is famous for her extravagant stage shows – and more specifically, her spectacular outfits.

Now, for the first time, Arts Centre Melbourne will exhibit more than 800 of her stage costumes from tours dating back to 1989 in the Kylie on Stage exhibition. The pieces are drawn from the Art Centre’s very own Performing Arts Collection, to which Kylie and her parents have donated the Melbourne-born singer’s costumes over the years. 

At the exhibition’s launch, curator Margot Anderson described these donations as “a curator’s dream”. Why, exactly? They belong to one of Australia’s most successful performers and one of pop music’s defining personalities. They’re cultural flashpoints, and they reveal the incredibly meticulous process of putting together a live tour on the scale of Disco in Dream, Enjoy Yourself, On a Night Like This and Aphrodite: Les Folies’, to name a few.

Walking into the exhibition, it’s easy to get dazzled by all the diamantés, feathers and glitter – but there’s a few outfits to look out for in particular. There’s the intricate blue showgirl outfit from Kylie Showgirl: The Greatest Hits (2005) by Dolce & Gabbana, and the Japanese-inspired outfit from KylieX2008 (2008) by Jean Paul Gaultier, for a start (below).  

Kyliex2008 costume

It’s incredible to imagine that years ago, when Kylie was in her early twenties, she sewed her own costumes with her grandma and bought those gold pants for 50 pence, which went on to become iconic. These days, ‘Our Kylie’ is dressed by the world’s top couturiers and is probably one of the world’s most loved divas. 

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