Black sequinned shorts : Miss Shirley Dawson

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Sydney
Accession Number REL34109.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cotton, Satin, Sequins
Maker Patton, Norman 'Paddy'
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made c 1941-1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Pair black sequinned shorts with centre back hook and bar, and press stud, fastening. Lined throughout the black polished cotton. The 70mm wide waistband is separately attached and lined with black satin. The legs are bound with black bias tape. Some rows of sequins are missing, especially on the back, exposing the black netting beneath.

History / Summary

This costume was worn by Shirley Dawson in a tap dance routine called 'The Two Shirleys' (the other 'Shirley' being Shirley Green) in Sydney c 1941-1942. The dance was choreographed by her sister, Lorraine. Miss Lorraine Dawson trained a dance troupe known as 'The Dancing Darlings' which performed at concerts entertaining troops based in Sydney. They also danced at fundraising functions for the war effort. The entire costume for 'The Two Shirleys' comprised a sequinned tailcoat and shorts, satin waistcoat, black painted cane with white head and tip, tap shoes, and a cardboard top hat covered with black satin. The latter has not survived. The dancers had bare legs, often with a 'seam' painted up the back, because wartime rationing restricted the availability of stockings. Norman 'Paddy' Patton, who performed in musical theatre and was also a qualified tailor, designed and made the costumes. Photograph P02718.001 shows the Shirleys dancing their routine.