GALLERY: A fashionable day out

WHETHER you’re a fan of the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries or have an interest in the 1920s — there is a fashion lesson to be learnt at the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition.

The exhibition, officially opened last night at Old Government House in Parramatta, features more than 40 fashionable costumes worn by the show’s leading lady, Phryne Fisher, and her cohorts including Detective Inspector Jack Robinson and Aunt Prudence.

The exhibition also features ensembles which have never before been displayed.

The show’s costume designer, Marion Boyce, sources trimmings, buttons and fabrics from all over the world to make the beautiful costumes worn in the show.

She also uses sewing techniques which date back to the 1900s to create the delicate pieces.

‘‘I love the 1920s and early 1930s,’’ Ms Boyce said.

‘‘So it’s something that I have collected over the years and I have done a lot of research [about] that time period.

‘‘What I’ve learnt about that period is it’s not about the clothing but the etiquette.’’

Ms Boyce works to a two-episode deadline every 16 days.

The costume designer said her ideas were developed from the scripts and the scene locations.

‘‘You need to know if the characters could be in drain pipes, if they will be climbing, or they could be in a race car and we go from there,’’ she said. 

Other costume ideas have been inspired by the Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood.

‘‘Because the show is based on Kerry Greenwood’s books, I started to read her books to get the essence of who Phryne actually is,’’ she said.

‘‘Kerry has quite detailed descriptions in her books, but you have to adapt them into a one-hour piece and sometimes that doesn’t work because it’s all condensed.

‘‘What you do is read the book and get the essence of the character and go from there.’’

Ms Boyce scours her favourite places for unique pieces.

‘‘My favourite place is the flea markets in Buenos Aires,’’ she said.

‘‘I go to Venice every two years. Junk stores [there] are truly great.

‘‘I buy a lot of fabrics out of China and Hong Kong. I find the fabric from real Chinese department stores and not Western department stores.’’

The exhibition is open from Saturday to June 1.

■ Details: nationaltrust.org.au/nsw/mfmm.

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