Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to a VIP evening to launch The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea House and Garden, thanks to Nuffnang and The National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
You may be wondering why I would go to costume exhibition based on a novel/film. It’s a best-selling novel and film, and ‘The Dressmaker’ features a wonderful story of comedy, drama and revenge and show’s us just how much vanity, revenge and small town gossip can impact lives.
What does a costume exhibition & movie have to do with North of Here?
I was intrigued to hear from the novelist herself, Rosalie Ham and the costume designer to find out about fashion for the movies, the inspiration behind the book, vanity and confident dressing. Marion Boyce, the costume designer for The Dressmaker set the scene when she said, “If you put on a frock that has 40 meters of wing span, it transports you”.
The whole idea about clothing being able to transport you, is something remarkable. Let’s chat a little more about that:
I asked my readers, How much of an impact does dressing well have on their confidence… Here’s what they had to say:
Jess_jeanette says, “When you find something nice that actually fits you, it makes you feel like a million dollars.”
ask_ruthie_melbourne says, “Love to dress up all the time!! It’s a great confidence booster for me.”
melhumphries, “I never used to rate it [dressing well}. Until I found City Chic. Their clothes actually made me feel like I was worth something, worth the effort. I credit a big part of me having the confidence to start my weight loss journey to the self respect dressing well gave me. Wearing shitty sacks doesn’t make you feel special”.
And my thoughts?
I’ll go back to the opening of The Dressmaker costume exhibition when designer, Marion Boyce said,
“The most exciting thing as a costume designer is when you have a fitting with an actor and they you see them physically discover their part, and they just become at-one, their costume has completed their journey.”
It just goes to show that women, actors, men and children – all choose their clothing based on their desires and needs – and very much so has an impact on their thoughts and feelings (regardless of whether they believe it or not). I must say, after living in Darwin for a couple of years, I had got to a point of not really caring about my appearance too much (sweating all the time, and being hot & sticky will do that to you). It wasn’t until I moved back to Melbourne, and started working back in the corporate world that I thought it was about time I claim back my wardrobe.
It was with the help of a stylist, twice over the year to get my wardrobe (and self-confidence) back on track! I honestly couldn’t believe having a few nice things to wear, and empowered with the knowledge of how to dress for my body shape – what a difference it made to me self esteem and well-being.
I asked the author, Rosalie if women today are loosing the sense of dressing to an ‘occasion’. She replied,
“I think it’s changing back. There are certain people in society that wear whatever they like, wherever they like. There are women that wear 50’s outfits, or always wear “bling” etc. It’s to be applauded. People are sick of looking like everyone else, we’ve gone through the t-shirt and jeans for every occasion. You express yourself through clothes and you make a statement, and how you want yourself to be seen. In the case of Dungatar, what you saw is not necessarily what you got!”
I then asked Marion, what can women learn from how women dressed in the 50’s and she answered,
“How to own an image. You see, we’ve become incredibly homogeneous and everybody wears the same clothes. I think there is nothing more exciting than getting dressed up and going to an event; and as you walk, your back is straight and you feel like you own the world”.
I couldn’t agree any more Marion, there is definitely something to say about how you dress and feeling confident, in your own skin.
The Dressmaker explores themes of vanity, revenge, bullying and confidence. The author explained the novel and the movie, “The characters carry all those themes of vanity, hypocrisy and bigotry. It shows what vanity can do to a small community”.
“It all started in that small community I grew up in and everyone knows everything about everybody everyone, you learn about secrets, what to say and what not to say. It started watching my own mother, a dressmaker. I could see the transformation of women on local race day, balls etc. They would go from their house dresses to transforming to meet the occasion.”
The Dressmaker explores a story-line where a young women is transformed thanks to the main character, Tilly (Kate Winslet). It shows the journey she embarks on and how vanity can turn nasty.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!
This article was brought to you by Nuffnang and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
About The Dressmaker costume exhibition:
The costume exhibition is based on the best-selling novel written by Australian author, Rosalie Ham, and the film adaption “The Dressmaker“. It’s a bittersweet, comedy-drama set in early 1950s Australia. Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), a beautiful and talented misfit, after many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly (Judy Davis) and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, she transforms the women of the town and in so doing gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.
The exhibition reveals how the costumes, inspired by Parisian couture, were made and developed for the film and features 50 designs by award-winning Costume Designer Marion Boyce as well as Kate Winslet’s costumes designed by Margot Wilson.
The Dressmaker Cosumer Exhibition at Rippon Lea House & Garden (192 Hotham St, Elsternwick) runs until July 31st 2016.