Summary

Short cape of long black fur, part of an ensemble made by Renee of Melbourne and worn by Irredenta Itala Serini, a post-war Italian immigrant who arrived in Australia with her family in 1950. She had trained in Italy as a designer and dressmaker, and worked as a high-end fashion designer in Hobart and Melbourne before setting up her own label in Melbourne in 1959. Madame Serini became a leading prestige women's clothing designer across Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, finally closing in 1981.

Renee of Melbourne was marketed to high-quality clients in an event in 1960: 'Women of Embassies and High Commissions in Canberra acted as mannequins to show the £25,000 collection of furs by Renee of Melbourne and hats by Stella Fraenkel, of Sydney. The furs included luxurious lull-length mink coats styled on generous lines, blonde mink stoles for day and evening wear, lustrous black ermine and clipped beaver lamb.' (The Canberra Times, 29 June 1960, page 7).

Physical Description

Short cape of long black fur (with the appearance of bear or primate, although possibily identified as goat). Fur conceals construction of cape. Shoulder caps inside cape would hold the cape in place - there are no other visible means of fastening. Lined with black silk taffeta with wool facings. Matching handbag is covered with same black fur, with black leather handle secured with brass rings. Black and gold clasp. Mouth is covered with leather. Interior of bag tan suede leather, with several pockets, two trimmed with black and one with a brass zipper. Pockets are lined with cream satin.

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