Dressing gorgeously is the best revenge in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s adaptation of The Dressmaker, which stars Kate Winslet as a talented designer in early ’50s Australia who has a few skeletons in her closet hanging next to her gowns. As Tilly Dunnage, Winslet whirls into her dusty hometown with luggage full of chic designs and revenge in her heart. The small, fictional town of Dungatar and its dowdy inhabitants aren’t ready for Tilly’s bombshell dresses and take-no-prisoners attitude, but once they get a look at her work, they are putty in her delicate hands.
Award-winning costume designer Margot Wilson was solely responsible for Winslet’s dresses, which take their cues from the chicest designs of the early ’50s. Tilly has studied with the best of the best in Europe, so naturally her clothes reflect the influences of mentors like Balenciaga and Dior. Marion Boyce, who’s responsible for the pitch-perfect look in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, designed the other dresses in the film, which Tilly concocts for the formerly drab ladies of Dungatar.
The Dressmaker’s colorful cast, which includes Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis, and up-and-comer Sarah Snook, is tough to beat, but the costumes by Wilson and Boyce are close. Here they are on some of the most unforgettable outfits in The Dressmaker, with commentary from the film’s costume designers.