Last chance for Miss Fisher’s costume exhibition

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By Sinead Heffernan

This is the last month to step into 1920s Melbourne and see the Miss Fisher’s costume exhibition at Rippon Lea house. Featuring the costumes from the hit TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries designed by Marion Boyce.

The Rippon Lea estate, built in 1868, was the house of Phryne Fisher’s Aunt Prudence in the tv show. The estate itself is opulent and beautiful and worth the visit just for the house itself, but will also feature costumes from the series plus never seen before costumes from the new season.

The costumes are the one thing the TV show did better than the book, as much as Kerry Greenwood described the outfits wonderfully to be able to see them on the show and at the exhibit up close and personal is an amazing experience and Marion Boyce did an amazing job on them.

There are also replicate costumes that viewers can try on as well just to make the whole thing even better. “As soon as I put on Phryne’s clothes I can adopt Phryne poses and promenade, and make an entry, feel confident and audacious… They just make me feel so good that I get away with things I could never pull off in my everyday life.” Essie Davis, Australian actress who plays the beautiful and confident Phryne Fisher.

Guests can see behind the scene of the sets and interact with the furniture and props. Some special events are also being held on top of the the exhibition, such as a garden party with croquet and a 1920s speakeasy bar with a jazz band as well as guided tours. There is also a tea room with a Miss Fisher themed menu for some refreshment, which will be much needed after walking the extensive estate grounds.

Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries are based upon the book of the same name written by Footscray born, Australian author Kerry Greenwood. There are so far 20 books in the series, and begins with Cocaine Blues, and the series has not finished. Whether you read the books or watch the series, fans will find Phryne Fisher bold, brave and witty.

Having worked in a French Women’s’ Ambulance unit during WWI Phryne appreciates life and all enjoyments and she makes no apologies for it. The Lady detective clinks glasses with Melbourne’s elite and traverses the seedy underground in order to solve crimes.

The series also has an undercurrent of women’s issues like access to birth control, abortions and women in the work force. Phryne is very open-minded and non-judgemental, she doesn’t care how people choose to live their lives – she only cares about whether your behaviour affects others. She is a sexually liberated, free-spirited woman whereas her companion Dot, played by Ashleigh Cummings, is a devout catholic but they respect each other’s beliefs and work very well together.

Even if you have never read or seen Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries the exhibition is still well worth the visit. You don’t need to have watched it to appreciate the beauty of the costumes and have fun trying on the outfits. Nor do you need to be familiar with Miss Fisher to appreciate the beauty of the Rippon Lea estate.


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