Haute off the big screen | Interview with award winning costume designer, Marion Boyce


"It's deeply satisfying when what you've imagined and what you've drawn comes to life and it becomes part of the character."

Friday 11th December, Barwon Park Mansion opened it's doors to the haute couture exhibition, showcasing over 50 costumes from The Dressmaker, designed by Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson. 

Marion Boyce had recently won the ACCTA best costume award for her work on The Dressmaker. The exhibition allows you to view these award winning designs up close and in full detail as well as give you insight into the hard work and long hours that went into the hand crafted, parisian inspired masterpieces.

The exhibition is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11 December 2015 to 11 March 2016. For bookings, ticket prices and more informations click HERE!

Thanks to Nuffnang, I had the pleasure of being invited, along with a few other bloggers, for an exclusive tour by the award winning designer herself. I also had the honour of sitting down with Marion for a 5 minute one on one interview. 

First of all I want to congratulate you on winning the ACCTA and commend you on the black dress with the white pleated shall, definitely one of my favourite designs. How long did it take to make that dress?
Thank you very much, it was very difficult to make. It's made from 40 metres of silk organza and has an awful lot of cloth in it, to make it look seamless was difficult.

Which dress would you say was the most difficult to work on?
Well the one we were just discussing was the most difficult. But a lot of the fabrics we used were really fine, like Gertrude's wedding dress that took two and a half weeks of hand stitching. So a lot of the costumes were high end making but that's the joy of making them.

How long did the whole process take?
Well, the official pre production was only 8 weeks. I drew the concepts and designs for about a month before that and we kept making as the film was going, so really it's about a 12 week process from word go. It's quite quick. You're always under extreme time pressure and you have no time for mistakes. But it's deeply satisfying when what you've imagined and what you've drawn comes to life and it becomes part of the character.

Was there any major mistakes where you had to scrap an idea last minute and start from scratch?
Well throughout the process you do concept drawings so you work out the whole film, you don't do it design by design; you actually work out the character. This film was very 'journey about transformation' so you had to draw the arch - where they began, where they went and where they end up. You actually have a chart so you always know where every thing is going. You work with the director and the production designer so it's all a well thought out process.

Did you have complete freedom over the designs or did you have to stick to a certain brief?
We all decide on a colour palette for different parts of the film that is very much part of the character and part of how the film comes together visually. But within that, yes, there is an enormous amount of freedom and you're always designing for a character and keeping the character in mind.

Can you describe the feeling of seeing actors like Kate Winslet modelling your designs on the big screen?
Well, say for instance the street scene where all the women were walking the street in the most, sort of, extreme landscape and you watch that scene coming to life, it's really joyful and when it's exactly the way you've imagined it in your head... It's great.

Is it disappointing when something doesn't go to plan?
When you've put an enormous amount of time into something, but then the way it's shot you don't end up seeing the whole piece. Sometimes you design everything as a complete ensemble and when you just get a close up of just the shoe for example but you don't get to see the whole outfit, you're disappointed, but it's always for a reason.

Well that's why you have costume exhibitions I guess, so people can see your hard work in full.
Well the exhibitions are fun! I've really enjoyed using costume in a different narrative and the whole process of designing the exhibition furniture and what all the rooms will look like was challenging, but It's been good fun.

It was an experience like no other and with special event coming up like 1950's inspired afternoon tea and a Sunday Style garden party, why would you want to miss this unmissable, once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with award winning haute couture, haute off the big screen!


  1. Could you please tell me where Barwon Park Mansion is ? Australia ?

    1. Hi Homer! Of course, I didn't even realise I hadn't mentioned it! It's in Victoria, Australia and the address is 105 Inverleigh Road, Winchelsea VIC 3241. Thank you :)


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