Elle and the Youthquake: The changing face of fashion

Past exhibition

Elle and the Youthquake tells the story of Wendy Ganley and her boutique Elle. While Mary Quant led the way in swinging London, young women like Wendy represented the new generations of New Zealanders in the 1960s who replaced the high fashion ideals of elegance and sophistication with notions of fun, vitality and exuberance, imbuing fashion with a youthful spirit.


Wendy Ganley opened Elle in Hamilton in 1964 - part of the raucous fashion era where pop music and musicians were a big influence and trends set in boutiques and on the street trickled up to the mainstream manufacturers and couturiers. The exhibition includes examples of Wendy’s designs for her Elle label; mini dresses and pantsuits that demonstrate a mastery of pattern cutting and construction that she honed while training with Barbara Herrick of Babs Radon.

This theme, of passing on skill and knowledge and being part of the whakapapa of New Zealand fashion, is illustrated in the exhibition by the inclusion of garments designed by Barbara Herrick, Marilyn Sainty, who trained at Elle with Wendy, and Beth Ellery, who was in turn supported by Marilyn. The exhibition takes the Elle story as a framework to look at the current face of New Zealand fashion design and to pose questions about the pathways for emerging designers today. How do they learn, what are their motivations and where are the opportunities for them to make their mark?

Curated by Doris de Pont.

Supported by Foundation North, Britomart, Purfex, Office Furniture Hire, Image Centre Group.

Garments in the exhibition

When & where

7 July - 14 October 2018
Waikato Museum, Hamilton


27 September - 19 October 2014
The Nathan Gallery, Auckland