Prue Acton

Prue Acton (OBE), internationally renowned fashion designer, now practising as a professional artist and colourist.

Prue Acton Courses header strip

Fashion

Prue Acton is an Australian fashion designer, often referred to as ''Australia's golden girl of fashion'' during the 1960s. Prue received a number of awards during her career, including three international awards for Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniforms, five Australian Wool Board Awards, three David Jones Awards for Fashion Excellence and four Fashion Industry of Australia Lyrebird Awards, as well as receiving an OBE in 1982.

At 15 years of age, Prue went to RMIT University (officially the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). She was one of the youngest ever to attend.

Right after graduating, Prue worked on clothing samples, and began her business in fashion design. At the start of her career, she wrote a fashion column for the journal Go-Set and was the first Australian female designer to show her own fashion range in New York.

Prue Acton was born in Benalla, Victoria. She moved to Traralgon, Victoria and then Melbourne, where she attended Christchurch Grammar School, Methodist Ladies College and Firbank CEGGS.

In 1962 Prue graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) with a Diploma of Art, majoring in Textiles.

In 1963, Prue opened her epiphanous fashion design business. Her mother, Gwen Acton (now deceased) mentored her throughout her 28 years in fashion, including setting up licenses to produce Prue Acton garments. In 1966 Acton signed the first Australian and United States of America design license with Arkay Inc. New York supplying Lord and Taylors and other department stores, becoming the top selling junior fashion label. In the following year, her designs were launched in Tokyo where they were instantly successful.

Snapshots Prue Acton

Snapshots: Prue Acton at The Gallery, Brighton City Council

Other Prue Acton licences include lingerie with Wacoal Japan, Kayser USA and Kayser Australia. In 1969, the Prue Acton Cosmetics brand was launched, and soon after was acquired by Farbwerke Hoechst, AG in 1970.

Snapshots Prue Acton

In 1989, Prue closed her fashion business, whilst continuing design contracts.

In 1995 Prue donated her collection of Prue Acton fashion garments and accessories to the Museum of Victoria and the supporting materials, photos, clippings and videos to RMIT University. Appointed to Prue Acton Collection Advisory Committee for the Museum of Victoria and RMIT.

From the 1970s National Gallery of Victoria have collected and exhibited Prue Acton garments and accessories in exhibitions, including 200 Years of Australian Fashion in 2016. The Powerhouse Museum, NSW also holds garments. In 2009 Benalla Costume and Pioneer Museum held an exhibition of their Prue Acton collection, augmented and assisted by Museums Victoria. In 2016 Snapshots: Prue Acton was held at The Gallery, Brighton City Council, as part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Awards and Achievements

1962

Prestige Award for Textile Design whilst studying at RMIT.

1963

Graduated RMIT Diploma of Art, majoring in textile design.

1965

Runner Up in the 'Gown of the Year' competition.

Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for ensembles garment section.

1966

Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Women's Wear.

1970

Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Women's knitwear.

ANCAC '70 Award for Packaging – Cosmetics.

Sales Promotion Executives Association – International 'Man of the Year' Award.

1971

Australian Wool Board – Wool Fashion Award for Outstanding Women's Wear Wool Collection.

FIA Lyrebird Garment Export Award.

FIA Lyrebird Manufacturers Award.

David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence.

World Expo Osaka, Japan – Staff uniforms for Australian Pavilion.

1972

David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – a special citation for designing for all seasons.

1973

David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – Grand Award.

FIA Lyrebird Award – Hall of Fame (the Hall of Fame award excluded Prue Acton from further awards, until rules were changed in 1978 to allow designers to win awards more than once.)

1976

Award for the Best Ceremonial Uniform, (Australian Women's Team), Montreal Summer Olympics. Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.

1978

Award for the Best Team Costume at the 1978 Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid, New York State,USA. Co-designer with Mike Treloar. Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.

David Jones Award for Fashion Excellence – a special award for Designers PM.

Re-entry into the FIA Lyrebird Hall of Fame.

1980

FIA Lyrebird – Special Citation – Hall of Fame.

Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion.

Summer Olympics, Womens' Ceremonial Outfit, Moscow, Soviet Union, in present-day Russia.

1982

O.B.E. – Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Australian Fashion Awards Designer – 'Style 80s'.

1984

Australian Women's Weekly – Australian Fashion Awards.

Award for equal first for Ceremonial Uniforms, Australian Women's Team at the 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles – Awarded by the International Olympic Federation.

1985

Won a three-year contract to design the Corporate Wardrobe for State Bank Victoria.

Australian Fashion Awards – Designer PM Collection.

Australian Fashion Awards – Casual Weekend Wear.

Presenter for the Vulcan Australia Ltd., jointly developed the Dishlex Designer Collection of dishwashers.

Two contracts signed with Actil Ltd. As presenter for Actil and licensee for a range of Prue Acton bed linen.

1986

Winter Olympic Games, Sarajevo – designed Australian Team ceremonial and sports uniforms.

1987

Won an open competition to become the official designer of World Expo ’88, Brisbane, with 12,000 on site personnel.

Australian Fashion Awards – Special Occasion Dress.

1988

Olympic Games, Seoul - designed Australian Team ceremonial and traveling uniforms.

Became a Director on the board of the Melbourne Moomba Festival.

Won a second three-year contract to design the Corporate Wardrobe for State Bank Victoria.

1989

Appointed by the City Council as a member of the Decoration Working Group to enliven Melbourne in the bid to gain the Olympics for Melbourne.

1990

Colour Consultant for Dulux and for Shell.

Again consulted by Actil to design range of Prue Actonbed linen.

1991

Valentine Sands reproduced original paintings by Prue Acton for greeting cards and calendars.

Member of Décor Advisory Board for CSR Woodpanels (1991-1994)

Prue Acton Australia Pty. Ltd. Ceased operations as fashion manufacturers and retailers. Television appearances and public speaking engagements including Mohair Industries Annual Conference in Perth.

Prue Acton Fashion Workshops commenced.

1992-1993

New England Wool Expo Judge for Fashion Awards.

1992-2000

Won contract – Official Uniform Design Consultant for Wesley College, Victoria.

1993

Prue Acton Fashion Design Workshops, Melbourne

Many public speaking engagements, including opening Melbourne's first Wedding Expo and the National Art Gallery in Canberra; Students Graduation Parade, Townsville Tafe; Conference Speaker – Subjects: 'Colour and Australia', 'Ecologic Matters – Tall Trees' and 'Creating Company Ethos'.

Fashion Design Workshop Mackay Tafe.

1995

Donated collection of Prue Acton fashion garments, accessories, to the Museum of Victoria; supporting materials, photos, clippings and videos to RMIT University. Appointed to Prue Acton.

Collection Advisory Committee for the Museum of Victoria and RMIT University

1998

Fashion Exhibition: 'Racing Ahead' at Storey Hall, RMIT, Melbourne.

1999

Patron, International Conference on Coloured Sheep and their Products, held at Deakin University, Geelong.

World Wide Appliances, N.S.W, promotional voice.

2000

Face of Canberra for Canberra Tourism.

2001-2002

Guest Speaker: Canberra Floriade, Chief Ministers Breakfast during Seniors Week, Canberra Quilters Annual Exhibition.

2006

Awarded Honorary Doctorate of the Arts, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.

2007-2010

Spokesperson, South East Region Conservation Alliance, Inc. NSW.

2011

Co-organizer traveling photographic exhibition Natural forests – Australian wilderness coast.

Co-coordinator Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA)

2016

Snapshots: Prue Acton held at The Gallery, Brighton City Council, and part of the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

2018

Museum Victoria, 'Museum Inside Out' Exhibition

Museum Victoria, 'You can't do that'

National Trust of Australia, (Victoria) 'The Super 70's'

Glen Eira City council Gallery, 'The New Look, 1960s'.

2019

Co-tutor with Merv Moriarty Colour Masterclasses for Flying Arts Touring August-September

RMIT University Short Courses: Colour and Design.

2020

January RMIT University Short Courses: Colour and Design.

February Institute for Study Abroad-Butler: Colour Relationship Workshop.