A luscious array of wedding dresses and bridal ‘accoutrements’ collected by the designer of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries divine 20s wardrobe will be on display at Old Government House (QUT Gardens Point) in July and August.
Costume designer, Marion Boyce has been an avid collector of fashion, accessories, and other historical curios since childhood and this new exhibition, The Bowerbird and the Bride exhibition shows the cream (white, blue and even purple) of her wedding treasures.
After sharing some exquisite outfits from the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries series with an eager Brisbane audience in 2016, Ms Boyce is now giving us a glimpse into the art of collecting and the inspiration its contents bring to the award-winning designer.
“I love all the fashion, accessories, and other historical curios surrounding a wedding,” Ms Boyce says. “I’m fascinated by the concept of the ‘glory box’ and the skills needed to create one.
“All my life I have converted and collected all things that are part and parcel of the ‘brides’ story’- pieces that become family heirlooms.
“From a father’s 1900s cheque book which provided for the wedding breakfast and quaint good luck hankies to the miniature portraits of ancestors the bride took to her new home and the book of embroidery samples created to impress her mother-in-law.
“They all tell a story of what is still the ‘big day’.”
It’s hard to pick favourites, she said, but a bias-cut 1930s gown culminating in a fish tail is dramatic and elegant is one.
“It has a simply stunning silhouette. I am in awe of the skill of the seamstress, it’s of super fine silk, bias cut and hand sewn but it looks effortless. The dress is paired with the most beautiful veil —it just takes my breath away.”
Two 1950s flower girl dresses “are the most adorable fluff balls and make me giggle every time I see them.”
The “pure whimsy” of a delicate lace 1920s gown is another favourite.
“The simplicity of the design of this dress in gossamer lace over a fine silk petticoat lets the fabric sing.”
Ms Boyce gathers her gowns from vintage markets shops and sheds, op shops, vintage websites or they are donated to her, their owners knowing they will be cherished and preserved.
“Sadly, many people don’t treasure or reuse clothing or accessories from one generation to the next as was once the fashion. The whole idea of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue seems to have changed.
“But our fascination with weddings and bridal wear remains undiminished.”
Fresh from the reveal of a Givenchy gown on the newest royal, and the display of these gorgeous gowns, there’s a chance to dress up in your bridal best for Brisbane’s Wedding Garden Party, a free family event for all fashionistas at QUT Gardens Point on Sunday, July 22.
Other special events are the Behind the Seams Tours with fashion experts on July 14, 19 and 21 and August 2, 11 and 16 and In conversation with Marion Boyce on August 8.
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