I just watched “The Dressmaker” on Netflix. This black comedy, starring Kate Winslet, just oozes with Haute Couture confections. The heroine “Tilly” (Winslet) returns to her baked dry, detestable Australian outback town in 1951 to wreck revenge on the vicious townsfolk for ostracizing her and her mother. She comes armed with her sewing machine and her fabulous haute couture style.
The film had two costume designers, Margot Wilson (won AACTA Award for Best Costume Design), who worked exclusively on Winslet, and Marion Boyce, who costumed the rest of the cast. Here, “Tilly” looks so cool and put together while she smacks golf balls into the town. The detail on her hip for holding golf tees almost looks like something for holding bullets.
Here’s Tilly in a rich, scarlet moire silk dress she wears to distract the boys during a rugby match. Costume designer Wilson said she had this fabric in her stash that she bought 25 years ago in Milan. Hey, I knew there had to be a good reason why so many of us sewists have our fabric stashes. We will use that gorgeous fabric someday!
I think this is my new favorite red vixen dress. Previously it was one of the “Joan” dresses on Mad Men.
This mustard colored bodice has really nice design lines/seam details. Here’s “Tilly” getting closer to handsome “Teddy” (Liam Hemsworth).
In the story, Tilly’s magic at the sewing machine reveals her incredible creativity and the power of costumes to change someone. The biggest transformation she does in the film is for “Gertrude”, the shopkeeper’s frumpy daughter, and turns her into a glam doll so she can catch a husband.
And so “Gertrude” becomes “Trudy”.
The other malicious women in town also turn to “Tilly” to glam them up as well.
Tilly, about to set fire to her childhood home (behind her on the hill), is ready to leave this one-horse town in a richly tailored New Look-inspired mustard coat and feathered hat at the end of the movie.
And well, just because, here’s one last look at handsome “Teddy”, as he strips down to get his measurements taken by “Tilly” for a custom suit.