Haute off the press at Upwey's Burrinja 

THE iconic styles of Carrie Bradshaw, Daisy Buchanan and Scarlett O'Hara are making their debut in Upwey.

Whether you prefer a Danielle Steele epic, Nicholas Sparks tearjerker or Agatha Christie mystery, the Fashion meets Fiction exhibition at Burrinja Cultural Centre will delight.

Curated from The Darnell Collection, the exhibition features 32 mannequins wearing outfits inspired by characters from the past 150 years.

Author and curator Charlotte Smith inherited the vintage couture collection of dresses, hats, jewellery, and accessories from her Pennsylvania-based godmother, Doris Darnell, in 2004.

It has grown to 8000 pieces stored in a Sydney warehouse and Smith says she knows where each piece is located. The idea for the exhibition followed a talk at Ferntree Gully library where Smith discussed her book Dreaming of Chanel.

But curating the fashionista's and literary buff's dream exhibition posed some challenges.

The dress chosen to style Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind turned out to be too delicate for display, so there was a last minute change to two bodices from the 1860s.

"In the end they related much more. When you think of the movie or the novel, you envision Scarlett draped over her couch, laced into her corset."

There was also a quick change for The Stepford Wives. "I thought they were from the '70s, but it was actually the '50s, when women were still just a handbag to their husbands."

Smith often thought of a dress in her collection first, then decided which book best matched it. The cocktail dress chosen for Carrie Bradshaw was a Dior classic she had planned to wear herself. It's paired with Manolo Blahnik cherry heels.

Fashion meets Fiction is the latest in a spate of fashion exhibitions, including the popular Grace Kelly show in Bendigo this year.

Smith said it was an intimate show as most pieces weren't behind glass and people could take photos.

"It combines social and fashion history with literature. You don't realise how much detail authors have to put in to their writing to make the characters believable."

Fashion meets Fiction is at Burrinja Cultural Centre until February 17. Details: burrinja.org.au.

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