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The Dressmaker costume exhibition at Barwon Park Mansion is a must see for anyone with an appreciation for couture fashion.
Love, Revenge and Haute Couture
– an utterly intriguing and accurate synopsis of this visually stunning film.
Adapted from Rosalie Ham’s bestselling book and featuring over 50 pieces of the costume design work of Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson, this exhibition is a stand-alone highlight of Australian design talent.
Featuring a hand picked wardrobe of pieces worn by Kate Winslet and the cast, this showcase shines a spotlight on the transformative power of fashion as well as the integral process of costume design in character development.
Stepping onto the pebbled driveway, the vision of Barwon Park Manor instantly transports you to another world. Set amongst a golden pastoral landscape and cushioned by elderly pines, the bluestone walls open into a vision of Tilly Dunnage’s country Australia.
Behind it’s double doors, the residents of 1950’s Dungatar come alive in each flutter of chiffon and rustle of moiré silk. We are treated to an up close and personal experience with the fabrics, the processes, the sheer magic of these costumes and their secrets.
Both the film and the exhibition take you on a transformative journey, setting the luxurious designs and opulent fabrics against the dusty Australian landscape.
Artfully staged, the story line of each character can be seen in every stitch, letting you lose yourself in the world of Parisian glamour and dream of what such garments might do for your own story.
Vintage Current talked to costume designer Marion Boyce about her challenges and triumphs working on The Dressmaker.
Starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition hosted by the National Trust, is on now at the Barwon Park Mansion in Winchelsea, Victoria.
Make a day of it and treat your friends to a mini road trip of fabulous fashion and style inspiration. Imogen, Anne and I had the most fantastic day complete with Devonshire tea in the converted stables.
Keep an eye out for the Sunday Style session, a 1950s style garden party day, (details TBA) and the perfect opportunity to frock up!
Only 40 minutes from Geelong or1 hr 20 mins from Melbourne, Barwon Park’s 42 room heritage beauty is the perfect setting to truly experience this remarkable showcase of re-created 1950’s Parisian influenced couture.
The Dressmaker costume exhibition is not to be missed!
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What a summer this is turning out to be! Such a mix weather wise, not the usual unrelenting heat we have had in past years. With loads of rain things are actually looking lush and green this time and with all the new landscaping we’ve been doing (dare I say it), tropical!
We’ve managed to get quite a number of my new plants in, Elephant ears, Monsteras and Jasmine all adding to the growing picture. So with any luck, if this amount of rain keeps up, I may yet have the lush green pool side vision I’ve dreamt of. The Magnapool has been simply stunning; both to sit by and to relax in on warm evenings. I find that hot weather plays havoc with my legs and fluid retention, so having such an incredible space to soak and revive is an amazing luxury.
Today’s dress I’ve been saving for a special occasion. It is an original vintage Hawaiian piece I bought from a friend who wore it when she won Miss VLV, so it has an illustrious past. It is one of those fabulous numbers that is both gorgeous and infinitely comfortable, meaning it will become a piece I reproduce for myself in the future. There are quite a number of pieces like that in my collection; pieces I’ve had every intention of making patterns from and then remaking them ten times over for love. The reality is though, that I just don’t have the time or the level of skill to do that quickly, so I’m gradually handing these over to friends who can take this on for me.
Dress – Vintage Hawaiian
Bangles – Vintage op shop find
Shoes – Bordello ‘Genie’ style in brown snake skin finish (these have the same last as those sparkly ones I posted earlier)
My plan is to eventually have a small but perfect collection of the vintage pieces I love the most, complete with patterns so that I’m able to reproduce their beauty as they become more fragile or as I need things more suitable to different conditions. Have you taken or made any patterns from your favourites? How do you deal with the inherent sadness of wanting to both wear and preserve them?
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A few months ago, the team at Thread Den here in Melbourne ran a sewing challenge. The idea was to create your own outfit inspired by Grace Kelly, in recognition of the movie’s release.
As an enthusiastic sewer myself (more enthusiasm, less doing), I knew just how challenging this competition was going to be, so I offered to sponsor a prize for the winner.
When Dani from Thread Den sent me the snap shots of Adele and her creation, I was just stunned. Not only was her gown the most beautiful creation, she was even a blonde Grace Kelly look alike!
Through our vintage hair and makeup salon here in Melbourne, I offered to spend a day with the winner, transforming her into a classic hollywood vision. After all the incredible effort these ladies had gone to creating their masterpieces, I wanted to capture and share the winning dress with you too.
Adele and I chatted away about our families, our shared loved of classic films and the intoxicating detail of costume. There is the most wonderful sense of understanding you find almost immediately through a shared love of vintage. Comparing childhoods, we were amazed and amused to find out how much we had in common; from the books we read to the imagination games we played. I think perhaps that all my vintage loving friends, yourself included, may fall under these same spells.
A huge thank you goes to my wonderful friend Helen McLean Photography and her trained eye for vintage glamour. Helen met Adele and myself in the salon, were we were able to capture these stunning images.
It was such a pleasure spending the day with Adele. A far cry from her usual stay at home mum attire, she thoroughly enjoyed her time playing old hollywood with us, and I think she looks absolutely born to it!
You know how we wish our homes could be reflections of our style and personality? Well, after visiting World Of Style last week, I thought it would be fun to re-visit these spaces with some of my outfits I thought really suited the space.
Today it’s Classic Bathroom style and classic lingerie to match.
I’d love to have a bathroom this large and lush!
All in one, open bottom, shaper with suspenders – Kiss Me Deadly “Vargas ” dress.
Stockings – Cervin- Paris.
Gown – Vintage burn out silk velvet with lambs wool trim.
Time to freshen up the wardrobe and start busting out my favourite colours. I don’t have a lot of green in the wardrobe, but as you can see, it features quite strongly in my decor.
This gorgeous two piece ensemble is by Jack’s Daughter here in Melbourne. Everything is hand made from original vintage fabric and trims. Jenny is an absolute gem, making pieces to order and with such attention to detail that I now have at least ten of her creations in my collection.
I also treated myself to some new spring jewellery I’ve wanted for so long. The perfect earring and clamper bracelet set from Chronically Vintage. Jessica has a superb selection in her Etsy store, but this yellow bracelet (earrings not shown here), really took my breath away. I’d never seen these sets in this colour!
It may be Spring and only just starting to warm up, but you may have noticed that Lola is being her usual lazy self and hiding out in these shots. The warmth of the sun through the window and the safety of her chair, means she’s not budging for anyone!
It may be Autumn in Melbourne already, but we are lucky to sneak in a few lovely days here and there. Provided you bring a cardi, you can enjoy a bit of a brunch in the sun.
The fabulous ladies at Trashy Diva, who I met while last in New Orleans, kindly sent me this wonderful polka dot version of my favourite Trixie Dress the other day. It’s rare that I go down the polka dot vintage dress road, but for Trixie my wardrobe door is always open. This is without a doubt, my absolute favourite dress block in the range they make. I have it in about seven different prints and fabrics, and that still isn’t enough!
The halter neck and shirred sides make it easily adjustable and very forgiving if you don’t fit a ‘perfect’ size. The folded style bust line is super flattering both on larger and smaller busts. In fact I can comfortably say, that if I were only allowed to have one dress style in my wardrobe, this would be it!
The Trixie Dress in Polka Dot and cropped green cardigan from Trashy Diva.
(this is the inadvertent “oops, my head piece is sliding out” pose)
I’m planning on packing all my Trixie dresses for an upcoming tropical jaunt, as not only do they look the business, but they hardly weigh a thing and fold up tiny. This means lots of extra room for all the shopping I plan on doing. And speaking of shopping, if you fancy adding this gorgeous dress or any other of the multitude of spectacular treats from Trashy Diva to your wardrobe, I have a special discount code for you!
Simply enter the code: Kawaii10 in the checkout to get 10% off any orders until the end of May.
Pour yourself a cup of tea and have a little look around their store. Let the love affair begin!
Dress – Big Polka in ‘Trixie’ by Trashy Diva
Cardigan – from Trashy Diva
Bangles – Op Shop find
Fruity head piece – A DIY project of mine
Shoes – Vivienne Westwood for Melissa “Lady Cherry”