Note: Some posts deserve an excited, 1st person introduction. Please see below:
Hey! If you like beautiful dresses, I know a place where there are lots – but only until the 11th of March this year. I’m talking about the Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, currently on at Barwon Park Mansion in Winchelsea.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, these intricate costumes – designed by EMMY nominated and AACTA winning costume designer Marion Boyce, – are worth seeing for their beautiful handiwork, vintage references and detailing. Known for her costume design in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Marion says it was an honour – and certainly not one to take lightly – to be involved in such a film.
“When you get approached to do a film called The Dressmaker you feel an extraordinary amount of pressure. I read the book quite a few years ago and fell in love with it.”
She wasn’t the only one.
“A few years ago, probably four Christmasses ago, one of my sewers who has worked with me on and off for a very long time, sent me the book. And she said to me, ‘This book needs to be made into a film. You need to do it and I need to work on it.’
Which, Marion tells, smiling as she recalls the serendipitous comment, she ended up doing.
“So I rang her up and said, ‘now Lyn – it’s about the Dressmaker.’ She said, ‘Oh my God.’”
With the historic backdrop of the National Trust owned mansion also on display, Marion says the location has worked well.
“I love it. When the National Trust approached me about doing the Dressmaker exhibition I was a little bit nervous because the home’s from a very different era. But driving up here, it’s not that far from where we filmed.”
With some filming of the movie occurring in the desolate-seeming, rural landscape of Mount Rothwell (near Little River in Victoria), some similarities were happily bound to happen.
“I thought, ‘Fantastic,'” says Marion. “By the time summer comes the grass will be burning off, it will be browning, the cattle are out there – it’s country, so it was the most perfect setting… and the most glorious home.”
She says admits to being a bit struck by the 19th century mansion. “I’ve never seen a home quite like it.”
Having worked on costumes for the film, Marion also designed the exhibition set too.
“I really enjoyed designing the exhibition and the narrative that went behind it,” she says. “To develop all of the exhibition hardware … all the exhibition runways and catwalks and podiums was a lot of fun.”
Also a lot of fun, says Marion, is seeing your handiwork spring to life right before your eyes; cue moment when a costume becomes more than just a costume…
“Often when you design, you see actors morphing into their characters in fittings. And that’s when you know that what you’ve set out to achieve has worked.”
The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, held at Barwon Park Mansion, runs until the 11th of March, 2016.