Fabulous Fifties Fashions

Anne here, and this week I'm blogging about an exhibition of fabulous 1950's fashion I went to recently in a National Trust house in the country about 2 hours from where I live. DressmakerPolkaDotsBack

The exhibition was of fashions displayed in the quirky Australian film, The Dressmaker, which stars Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth and Hugo Weaving. 

The basic premise of the movie (it's also a novel) is that a girl returns to the drab little  country town she was sent away from as a child, though her mother still lives there.

DressmakerRedDressShe's there to look after her aging mother and to come to terms with the mystery of why she was sent away. She's now a top class dressmaker, having studied under some of the top French couturiers. She brings 1950's haute couture to the dreary run-down backwater in remote Australia — and transforms the town. 

That's enough about the plot — see the movie or read the book if you want more. In the movie the fashions starred as much as the actors, and they're what drew me down to the grand old farm homestead at Barwon Park, built in the Victorian era, when the country grew rich and fat on wool and dairy. It's built of bluestone (locally quarried volcanic stone) and definitely had an eye to grandeur, as it sits looking out across flat volcanic plains. Dressmaker1Barwon

The sign out the front, Dungatar, is a little joke — that's the name of the drab and run-down little town in the movie, and bears no resemblance to the slightly grand and elegant Barwon Park.

But back to the fashions. Marion Boyce was the costume designer — you might already know her work — she also designed the gorgeous clothes in the Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery TV series.

To start with there were the hats. (Click on any of the photos for a bigger view)

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