Hundreds converged on David Jones’ flagship Sydney store on Elizabeth Street last week to celebrate the launch of its inaugural Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras window display, inspired by the life and times of iconic entertainer Carlotta.
For a limited time, the window display at David Jones’ flagship store features designs celebrating the extraordinary career of the Australian performer, who is also one of our first public trans women.
Carlotta transitioned in the early 1970s and had one of the first and definitely most high-profile gender reassignment surgeries in Australia at the time.
A larger-than-life entertainer, Carlotta’s story was one of the inspirations for The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and she was a fixture on the Kings Cross entertainment circuit in the 1970s.
Choosing Carlotta as their face of Mardi Gras was a logical choice for David Jones because in her teen years, Carlotta had worked at David Jones in the art department painting the scenes, backdrops and mannequin faces for the windows.
“I’ve had other honours, but this one feels special,” Carlotta told Star Observer last week.
“The windows are for Mardi Gras plus my journey, from starting there (David Jones) as a boy to becoming Carlotta.”
To launch the window display, the iconic performer performed live in store on last week alongside other famous drag queens from Sydney.
David Jones chief marketing officer David Robinson said the company was “proud and excited” to be celebrating Mardi Gras.
“David Jones supports diversity and self-expression for both customers and staff, and it is important to be involved in one of Sydney’s most iconic events that epitomises these values,” he said.
“Carlotta has had a monumental impact on the LGBTIQ and wider community, and it was an honour and privilege that she would return to David Jones where she once worked, to collaborate with us on our Mardi Gras celebrations.”