Phryne Fisher’s fabulous fashions

“A woman should dress first and foremost for her own pleasure” says the elegant sleuth Miss Phryne Fisher, and we think she’s absolutely right!

Miss Fisher’s Costume Exhibition will give you a taste of Phryne’s fabulous fashion sense and an opportunity to relive some of the best moments from the ABC drama series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Popular as Aussie style drama with a female protagonist, the late 1920s styled costumes, won Marion Boyce, an AACTA award for best costume design earlier this year.

It’s all sumptuous elegance and extravagance, and in the words of Brian Scarsbrick, the National Trust’s CEO, “bringing Miss Fisher to Old Government House meant overlaying the fashions of 1821, with their Anglo and Indian influences and strong emphasis on colour with the ritz and glamour of the 1920s”.

The attention to detail in the highly embellished outfits and recreated soft furnishings ensures the costumes don’t look out of place and renders Old Government House as a fitting setting. With nearly 40 outfits showcased, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but the drape and shimmer of the Silver Lady outfit, all silvery blue, rich silk velvet, displayed in the Staircase Foyer might just be our favourite. Almost impossible to resist running your hands over the fabric, we could well imagine the state of the fabric after thousands of eager hands had succumbed to the temptation, so we kept ours to ourselves!

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but the drape and shimmer of the Silver Lady outfit, all silvery blue, rich silk velvet, might just win our vote.

For sheer dramatic presentation The Showstopper gown from the episode, Murder à la Mode, is bound to get popular votes. Being positioned in front of a large mirror in the Drawing Room emphasises the drama of the piece. Used to great effect, the shards of mirror glass placed under the dressed mannequins heightens the theatrical experience of this show.

The textural and often heavily embellished fabrics are wonderful to see up close and personal. They showcase not just the opulence of the era but the refined skill and patience involved in their manufacture.

In this a wonderful exhibition and even offers a mystery to unravel, with cryptic clues in each room. Solving ‘strumpet’s doom’  will appeal to those more interested in fiction than fashion ensuring this can be a family affair and not just a go-to gig for girls!


Here’s a short video on Marion Boyce’s costume design on the ABC website.

Read more about this exhibition is this article

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