Friday, March 18, 2016

Another show I could watch just for the clothes

Some of my fashion-obsessed Facebook friends reminded me of how crazy I am about Phryne Fisher's wardrobe. And I thought—hey, wait a minute—perhaps everyone on earth isn't already watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries! In which case, blathering away about a television show could do the world some good.

And so, an illustrated primer. The series begins in 1929. The Hon. Phryne Fisher is a young Australian woman

who lives in a bijou house in Melbourne. (Bijou in this sense is small, elegant, or gem-like. Thank you, years of French, for the immeasurable ways you enrich my life.)

Assisted by her much more soberly-attired maid, Dot, as well as taxi-drivers and men-of-all-work, Bert and Cec, she solves many mysteries.

The show is based on a series of mystery novels by Kerry Greenwood. The series strays in big and little ways from the original stories, but clearly, the look and feel of the costuming stays true to the books.

That is, if you can judge books by their covers.

The part of Phryne is played by Essie Davis, who at 46,

is doing a bang-up job, and apparently having a fabulous time with the role.

And who wouldn't, with these costumes?

Australian costume designer Marion Boyce won the AACTA award for best costume for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Season Two. (She won the same award last fall for The Dressmaker.) She puts together the show's costumes using a combination of vintage and custom-made clothes and accessories. Here are just some of the hats she created for the show.

A costume exhibit featuring the Season 3 costumes just opened at Old Government House in Parramatta. Even though I would LOVE to visit Sydney again, I probably won't be dropping in. But maybe I can buy a catalog.

It would be lax of me to neglect to inform you that there is also some excellent tailoring (and male eye candy) in the form of the extremely dapper Inspector Jack Robinson

(They don't get nearly this flirty in the books, but my appetite for faithfulness in literary adaptations has its limits—particularly when two such cuties are concerned.)

All three seasons of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries are currently streaming on Netflix. Go forth and binge on satin pajamas, feather boas, t-strapped Louis heels, and rhinestone panaches. You know you want to.


  1. Love! 20s fashion is my favorite era and my last haircut was based off a picture of her bob. And Jack is the CUTEST. So much cute.

    1. I know, right? And the INTERIORS. And Phryne's CAR. And Dot's complexion--have you ever seen such skin?

      So much fun!

  2. That bijou home in Melbourne would be millions and a very equally bijou price! I didn't know about this but as a former Melbourne girl I can't wait to see this.

  3. A bijou price is OK for a bijou house. Nothing's too good for our Phryne. We expect her to be rich; in fact, it's necessary so we can gawk at her amazing clothes. And wait til you see her Hispano-Suiza.

    I hope you can get Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries in England. I'd hate to have steered you wrong!

  4. When I go over to my Mum's I see that house they film from - the style is called an "Italianate Victorian House" here. I do feel sorry for Dot ... she has the most awful hats! LOL

    1. Dot's clothes in general are pretty unfortunate, but true to the book. IMO, she's unnaturally fond of brown. But doesn't the actress playing her have the most incredible skin? I don't know her actual nationality, but she's what I think of when I picture an "English rose."


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.