This eclectic bag from the Grainger Museum’s Costume and Textiles collection was made by Percy Grainger at the age of 12. After his mother, Rose, died, Grainger published a limited edition book called Photos of Rose Grainger, which included a chronology of her life. The 1894 entry notes:
‘Received from her son, as a birthday gift … several of his compositions presented in an elaborately decorated cover or bag sewn by him and consisting of cardboard, lace, scrapwork, kitchen curtains, part of a stocking, small stars of silver paper, etc.’
Grainger’s interest in textiles and experimental fashion design may well have begun with this piece. Two outfits worn by Grainger and illustrating his forward-thinking ideas about fashion are currently on loan from the Museum to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the ManStyle exhibition on until November 2011. One is an unstructured silk suit made by the Rogers Peet Company in 1921 and the other is Grainger’s ‘Laird of Art’ outfit (above right) which he and his wife Ella made from towelling and fringing in the 1930s.