theFASHION: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Review | Acorn Media Gets Fashionable @AcornMedia @LAFashionSnob #Fashion #TVWardrobe

Essie Davis as Phyrne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. All images provided by Acorn Media

Murder Mysteries Never Looked So Good!

Written By Heather Petrey

With the "Great Gatsby" 20s inspired trends taking the world by storm, this couldn't have been a better time for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries to make its North American debut on Blu-Ray and DVD this past March from Acorn Online . The series was based off of the detective novels by Kerry Greenwood and produced for ABC Australia and first aired on select television stations this past April.

Courtesy of Acorn Media

Folks, if you are looking for a show that epitomizes a strong leading female role in a normally male-dominating world (and beautifully done and accurate costuming), then this is the show to watch. The incredibly chic Essie Davis portrays the Honorable Miss Phyrne (fry-nee) Fisher- a sharp witted woman who is modern beyond her time. The series is set in late 1920s Melbourne, Australia and follows Fisher, always clad in the latest flapper garb and her tiny pistol tucked away (but always ready to grab in a moment's notice), as she glides through some of the city's back alleyways, jazz clubs and sketchy neighborhoods looking for clues in order to solve the crime. 

Courtesy of Acorn Media
Along the journey, we meet Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page), who is totally against Miss Fisher's role in contributing to the safety of Melbourne's citizens; yet it's obvious that he's infatuated with her. We also meet Dorothy 'Dot' Williams- who Phyrne hires to be her lady's companion, maid and very helpful sidekick. The list of characters grows per each episode, adding their unique twist to the thickening plot. Each episode is about an hour long and contains violence, coarse language, nudity, sexual situations and drug use. For more information and to purchase the first series, go to Acorn Online.

The costumes for this extravagant series were designed by Marion Boyce, who has an incredible passion for the 20s and 30s. After thorough research, I found that creating such beautiful pieces (both vintage and reproduction) was no easy task. Boyce only had eight weeks pre-production and then sixteen days after the eight weeks to continue with the next two episodes. Her team was small and consisted of: one cutter, one sewer and an art finisher (who did the dying). She sourced fabrics from all over the world, including 25 year old pieces from her personal collection. There were over 120 outfits for Essie Davis's character alone, as back in those days, there were numerous outfit changes for the day (sleepwear, day wear, afternoon tea and evening wear). When asked about what was her inspiration when designing Phryne Fisher's wardrobe Boyce stated,

 "I had this concept that Phryne was always completely fluid. She was a woman with an extraordinary amount of energy, like a little tornado. I always wanted her clothes to have a waft to them so they would move with her as she went in and out of rooms, taking Melbourne by storm. I designed pieces with that in mind...Phryne is a really sassy individual and the leeway she allows is fantastic. She wasn't conventional in any way – she’d served in the war, lived in Paris in bohemian style, and probably traveled further afield. This meant our parameters were wider and we could have an enormous amount of fun with her. Phryne’s influences would've been European. At the time, most of our dress was influenced by UK fashion, and because she's lived in Paris, her boundaries are broader. She was much more playful than the more conservative English." 

After filming, all the glamorous costumes went back to where they came from, the ones that were made from fabrics bought by ABC were given to them and Boyce kept the ones that were created using her fabrics. Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries couldn't have landed in the US at a better time. Timeless fashions inspired by some of the greatest fashionable times in history makes this not only a hit with mystery enthusiasts but fashionistas as well.

Fashionably Yours,

Heather Petrey
Fashion Expert


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