What does it take to make a truly authentic on-screen Great Detective? In a previous post, we looked at the brilliant Aussie trio behind the global success of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. But there was actually an “awesome foursome”, and we have kept the key ingredient of the formula for this post. Just as Sherlock Holmes needed a costume and accessories to convey his personality and character traits (see this post), Phryne Fisher’s wardrobe plays a pivotal role in bringing her flamboyant character fully to life.
Internationally renowned Australian costume designer Marion Boyce won Best Costume Design at the 2014 AACTA Awards for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and again in 2015 for The Dressmaker. Marion’s costumes are carefully crafted to accurately reflect the time period and setting of the story, the glamorous "Jazz Age" in 1920’s Melbourne. Beyond capturing the historical context, Phryne's costumes also serve as a visual representation of her unconventional personality and character. Her wardrobe then adapts and evolves throughout the series to reflect her increasing confidence and maturity, sometimes softer and more feminine, but always sophisticated and elegant.
Boyce’s own backstory has a touch of the theatrical. Her part-Italian mother was an enthusiastic cook (a quality her daughter inherited) with a flamboyant taste in clothes – an “Italian taste”, according to her husband, who did not approve. When Marion entered the film industry as a fledgling costume designer in her early 20’s, her parents apparently said ‘Marion, it’s not the world for you. It’s full of divorcees and homosexuals.' And she replied, ‘It sounds great!'
You can hear more from Marion Boyce about her life and work in this Film Victoria interview, or follow this link to learn more about her approach to the design work for Series 3 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.