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Art, culture and couture in Melbourne

  • Written by Rebecca Andrews

Home to Australia's most visited public gallery, museum and library, and the only dedicated theatre precinct in the country, Melbourne attracts millions of visitors each year to its cultural institutions. This year, Dior, Van Gogh and Aardman will lead a stellar line up of arts events in Melbourne, cementing the city's reputation as a number one destination for fashion, arts and culture.

In a coup for the country's fashion capital, The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture (27 August – 7 November 2017) is anticipated to attract fashion fans from near and far to Melbourne. A collaboration between the House of Dior and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the Melbourne-exclusive exhibition will celebrate 70 years of one of the world's most influential fashion labels.

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
As host of Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, the NGV will showcase Van Gogh and the Seasons(28 April – 9 July 2017). Art lovers are in for a treat with this collection of 40 paintings and 25 drawings on loan from art galleries around the world – exclusively showcased in Melbourne.

Animation enthusiasts will adore Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The magic of Aardman (29 June – 29 October 2017) – a new exhibition that will open at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), and is part of the 2017 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces. Celebrating 40 years of one of the world's most successful animation studios, the exhibition will showcase the journey of Aardman's characters – from concept drawings and storyboards, to the handmade puppets and sets.

Words – written and spoken 
From witty one-liners to novel-length prose, the Melbourne Writers Festival (25 August – 3 September 2017) returns, bringing with it a plethora of established and up and coming writers. Literary lovers keen on a roadtrip can head to the upcoming Mildura Writers Festival (13 – 16 July 2017), or the Bendigo Writers Festival (11 – 13 July 2017).

Theatre and performance
On the stage, The Book of Mormon is already wowing audiences with its Australian premiere kicking off in Melbourne in January. Aladdin (from 21 April 2017) with its 37 performers, 337 costumes and 30 tonnes of 'flying' scenery has landed triumphantly at Her Majesty's Theatre. My Fair Lady (from 12 May 2017) will bring a little propriety to town in a production directed by musical theatre icon Dame Julie Andrews, who was cast in the original Broadway production. Later in the year, The Bodyguard (August) the musical made famous by Whitney Houston, will also hit the stage.

The Australian Ballet will present the Australian premiere of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (12-30 September 2017).

Australia's music capital played host to the 12th Australian Music Prize on 9th March, 2017 with local duo A.B. Original taking home the prize. As well as being held in Melbourne for the first time in 10 years, the shortlist of nominees all hailed from Victoria. Melbourne boasts 465 live music venues and is home to some of the industry's biggest music events each November: Melbourne Music Week, Face The Music and the Australasian World Music Expo.

Photography is being celebrated in a big way this year. The NGV Festival of Photography (March – August 2017) features a suite of contemporary photography exhibitions, including presentations by William Eggleston, Bill Henson, Patrick Pound, Zoë Croggon and Ross Coulter. In regional Victoria, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (19 August – 17 September 2017) will be bigger and better than ever this year. Events will take place at more than 80 venues throughout the city, all brought together by the festival's new Creative Director, Fiona Sweet. Year round, photography fans can get their fix at the home of Australian photography, the Monash Gallery of Art, and the Centre for Contemporary Photography.

For a full list of Melbourne's upcoming arts and culture events, click here.

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