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Undressing Kellerman, Uncovering Broadhurst : the modern woman and "un-Australia"

Schmidt, Christine Margaret (2009) Undressing Kellerman, Uncovering Broadhurst : the modern woman and "un-Australia". Fashion Theory : The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 13(4), pp. 481-498.

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Abstract

This article explores the contributions of two unique Australian women, Annette Kellerman and Florence Broadhurst, to global fashion and aesthetics through subverting and challenging female gender roles of the early twentieth century. These two women are brought together here as a means of highlighting their markedly contrasting social tactics: undressing versus layering. Kellerman's body became an instrument in her quest for global fame, engaging in daring public "undress" in swimming and diving performances around the world that served to show case her innovative swimwear design. In contrast, Broadhurst, through repeated reconstructions of her persona and constant relayering of identities, concocted versions of herself in order to pass through Shanghai, London, and Sydney societies. Their lives exist as binaristic parallels, expressing contrasting values of un-Australianness - the disavowal of national identity; and Australianness - the promotion of national identity. Both Kellerman and Broadhurst tested the limits of body, dress and national identity as vehicles for global recognition. The recent interest in their historical roles is evidenced in the films "The original Mermaid"( 2004) and "Unfolding Florence" (2005) in addition to numerous books and journal articles. Despite this resurgent public recognition of their lives and achievements, scholarly analysis of their legacies in the fields of fashion and design are still relatively neglected. This article explores their contributions to celebrity and modernity, fashion and gender as modern un-Australian women.

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ID Code: 29934
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Pending accepted version and publisher's permission
Keywords: Kellerman, Broadhurst, fashion, swimsuit, women, Australian
DOI: 10.2752/175174109X467495
ISSN: 1362-704X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > ART THEORY AND CRITICISM (190100) > Visual Cultures (190104)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Berg Publishers
Deposited On: 25 Jan 2010 17:07
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:05

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