National

Iconic designer ‘humbled’ by Queen’s award

By AAP Newswire

When you live with a spectacular view and a garden filled with more than a thousand waratahs, it's easy to be inspired by nature's beauty.

But iconic Australian designer Jenny Kee began her love affair with the earth long before she moved into her Blue Mountains home, and this spiritual connection has continued to run through her work since she first opened Sydney frock salon Flamingo Park in the 70s.

"I love every inch of this country. The inspiration for me comes from the land, and it never changes," she tells AAP.

After moving to London during the 60s and living it up, but rarely seeing the sun, the Bondi-born designer moved back home and fell in love with the Australian landscape all over again.

It sparked a career that earnt her national fame as a costume designer at the 2000 Olympic opening ceremony.

The 71-year-old has now joined a handful of Australian cultural trailblazers who on Monday were appointed Officer of the Order of Australia.

"I feel humbled. I've loved my country. I've given a national sense of pride in wearing images from our own country," she said.

Despite her fame for creating bold and colourful fashion, the designer has also been recognised for her contributions to the environment and conservation.

She hopes the Queen's Birthday honours can give her a platform to encourage others to protect the earth.

"We have to treasure the planet we live on. We destroy the environment, we're destroying parts of ourselves," she said.

OTHER AUSTRALIAN ARTISTS HONOURED INCLUDE:

- Linda Jackson, for her work in the fashion industry and as a mentor for indigenous artists.

- Dr Christian Thompson, for his work as a sculptor, photographer, video and performance artists and for being a role model for young indigenous artists.

- Author Dr Catherine Grenville for her contribution to the education sector and the publishing industry.

- Dr John Hibberd for his advisory roles to theatres as a playwright.