Designer turns NFSA building into fashion collection

You can visit the NFSA in Canberra - and now you can also wear it.

Zilpah Tart designer Yumi Morrissey photographed our building and used the image to create a dress, skirt and loop scarf set.

We spoke with Yumi about this project, a collection she has named ‘Illuminate’. She explained that she wanted to use a darker colour palette, 'but one that still had the colour vibrancy that is associated with my aesthetic. I loved the idea of creating some prints that had a strong contrast between the dark of the night and the bright glow of the city lights. It's also a way to show Canberra in a different light. The Canberra landmarks completely transform at nighttime.'

The NFSA's art deco building was a clear choice from the beginning, because of the design possibilities it offered: 'I took photos of many different locations at nighttime, but I immediately knew that the NFSA was one that I would use. The light projections on the building in rainbow colours are really beautiful, and the details on the exterior of the building cast shadows that create some really interesting shapes and patterns.'

Two other Canberra structures were also used for this collection: the National Museum of Australia and Questacon's Torsional Wave.

But it wasn’t easy. The challenge with turning any photograph into a print for clothing is to consider how the image will sit on the body.

Yumi explained: ‘Geometric lines can be tricky as they can be unflattering. The trick was using the right scale, and the print is quite large. The photo takes up a 75 cm width on the fabric. I wanted the building to be as it is in the photo so the repeat is quite simple - flipped horizontally and vertically, repeated down the fabric.

‘Another challenge I faced was ensuring there weren't areas of plain black that were too large and, given the angle of building in the photo with the night sky, I had to use some extra colour to create interest in those areas. ‘

Yumi's scarf is available for purchase from the NFSA Reception in Acton. You can also see this collection at the CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley show, this Saturday 8 April, at Highgate Lane in Kingston ACT.