Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS

Silhouettes-Fashion-in-the-Shadow-of-HIV-AIDSExploring the lives and works of some of fashion’s brightest stars from the late 20th century, Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS is on display at The David Roche Foundation House Museum, Adelaide, until 18 June 2022.

“This ground-breaking exhibition features works by designers, artists and activists who died of AIDS-related illness, and raises awareness of their contribution to fashion during a pivotal moment in history,” said Robert Reason, Museum Director, The David Roche Foundation.

More than 100 pieces of fashion, art and ephemera – sourced from private and public collections from the UK, Europe, US and Australia – tell a story of changing hemlines, changing worlds and
changing attitudes.

Showcasing household names like Halston and Moschino, Silhouettes also features work from revolutionary black designers Patrick Kelly, Fabrice Simon and Willi Smith, and forgotten talents like Clovis Ruffin and Chester Weinberg.

“HIV/AIDS in fashion became an important activism tool to force social and political advancement, and in many cases intersected couture designers and activist artists as they collaborated to affect change through fashion, design, and art.

Australians Peter Tully, David McDiarmid and Brenton Heath-Kerr brought this struggle to our streets with passion and panache,” added Skye Bartlett, the guest curator for this exhibition.

The fashion designers, artists, and activists selected for Silhouettes exercised enormous influence on fashion, and almost all are unduly overlooked in recent years.

Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS is a powerful reminder of an entire generation of international designers lost to the virus but deserving of contemporary recognition.

The exhibition also marks 40 years since the emergence of HIV/AIDS and comes at a time when the world’s attention is very much on the devastating impacts of a global pandemic.

“Skye Bartlett, guest curator and Team Manager from SAMESH, is to be commended for collecting many of the exquisite examples displayed in the exhibition and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue, and for researching the neglected histories of critical figures to the fashion industry,” said Robert Reason.

Silhouettes is both a timely and important reminder of the devastation caused by HIV/AIDS and a celebration of creativity through the significant critical reassessment of modern fashion by contributing authors Daniel Milford-Cottam and Timothy Roberts.”

Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS at The David Roche Foundation is presented in partnership with South Australia Mobilisation + Empowerment for Sexual Health (SAMESH) and Thorne Harbour Health.

Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS
The David Roche Foundation House Museum, 241 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
Exhibition continues to 18 June 2022
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Silhouettes: Fashion in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS – (l-r) the couture of Halston, Patrick Kelly, Chester Weinberg, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo and Fabrice Simon (supplied)