Photo taken on April 17, 2019 shows costumes displayed in the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia in Canberra, Australia. Fascinated by the costumes in The Dressmaker? People in Australia's capital now have a chance to take a close look at the dresses that Tilly Dunnage acted by Kate Winslet used as weapon for her revenge in the film. The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, which will start on Thursday at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) in Canberra and run until Aug. 18, displaces the film's sumptuous designs, as well as the transformational power of fashion with 31 costumes. (Xinhua/Liu Changchang)
CANBERRA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Fascinated by the costumes in The Dressmaker? People in Australia's capital now have a chance to take a close look at the dresses that Tilly Dunnage acted by Kate Winslet used as weapon for her revenge in the film.
The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition, which will start on Thursday at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) in Canberra and run until Aug. 18, displaces the film's sumptuous designs, as well as the transformational power of fashion with 31 costumes.
The Dressmaker is a bittersweet comedy-drama in early 1950s Australia, where a beautiful and talented woman Tilly Dunnage, who, as a child, was blamed as a murderer. Returning to the small town of Dungatar, she used the skills she learned from Paris fashion houses to investigate the truth and revenge.
"We are excited to have a little piece of Dungatar in our gallery, and look forward to welcoming audiences to the exhibition," said Jan Muller, CEO of the NFSA. "When they see these costumes up close, they will be impressed by the level of artistry that went into their creation."
Designers Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson for the film were awarded Best Costume Design at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards in 2015.
Sue Maslin, producer of the film, told Xinhua at the media preview on Wednesday that it was very important in the movie that "the costume tells the story."
"In many other films, costumes are decoration of the characters, but in this film it is all about transformation," she said. "Tilly Dunnage arrived in this town which is in the middle of nowhere, and she had her Singer sewing machine which is her weapon, and she used it to get revenge on those who did her wrong years ago."
"When I read it, I fell in love with the idea that a couture making costume sitting in the Australian outback," she said. "I love the visual irony."
She said that the costumes were made within eight to ten weeks in advance to the film shooting. "These costumes are even more wonderful than I imagined. The costume would be faithful to the era and would be very stylish. But it is actually the personality of the costume that I love most."
She said that the 1950s after WWII was the beginning of introduction of color again, and fabric, beautiful texture and so on. "What makes this period particularly distinctive was the lust," she said.
"Fashion during the 1950s was very exciting because there had been an atmosphere of restraint, everyone had to be austere during the war years, and then Christian Dior came along and changed everything, and Balenciaga," said Jocelyn Moorhouse, the director of The Dressmaker. "They changed the silhouette, they used a ridiculous amount of fabric to create what were really works of art, not just clothes."
Designer Boyce said that they wanted a palette of colors, "almost jewel-like, amidst this dusty outback environment to showcase Tilly's sumptuous designs."
Maslin's favorite costume was the dress worn by Gertrude Pratt, the daughter of the owners of the town's general store, which was the first time that people in the town saw Tilly Dunnage's talent.
"I love this costume both because it is the first time that we see the power of Tilly to transform these women ... and the making of it," said the producer. "When we actually filmed, we documented the making of this costume, which is in our exhibition as well, because these techniques haven't been used since 1950. They are all original techniques to create that beautiful organza cape and also the black satin dress. It was reviving of art."
Sacha Horler, as another dressmaker in the town who was Tilly Dunnage's rival, and James Mackay, acting as husband of Pratt in the movie, also appeared in the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
"My favorite costume was the dress I was instructed to make for James's bride-to-be," said Horler. "It is a huge creation of love."
In the film, the dress, with a bow in center front, full circle skirt, layered ruffled lace panel and exaggerated puffed sleeves was beaten by Tilly Dunnage's creation, resulting in the rest of the townspeople returning to Tilly. It also appeared at the exhibition with which Horler took a photo.