Miss Fisher Collection – An Interview with Costume Designer Marion Boyce

Are you a fan of the sassy 1920’s lady detective Miss Phryne Fisher? I sure am! She’s feisty, fearless and incredibly stylish, I’ve yet to meet anyone that doesn’t want to be a little more like Phryne, even Emma, my 6 year old, wanted to dress like Miss Fisher for Comicon last year!

Labassa Mansion National Trust

“This post is bought to you by Labassa Mansion

We can’t go back to the 20’s, but thanks to the new Miss Fisher Collection by Marion Boyce, it’s now possible to bring a little bit of Miss Fisher glamour into our wardrobe with a very special limited edition range of jewellery and accessories.

Labassa Mansion staircase

Labassa Mansion central staircase

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Labassa Mansion, the National Trust property which was used as a film location in the latest series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and had a chat with award winning Costume Designer Marion Boyce about her new Miss Fisher Collection of jewellery and accessories, fabric collecting and how Miss Fisher has captured the imagination of viewers world wide.

An Interview with Costume Designer Marion Boyce

Miss Fisher Collection - An Interview with Costume Designer Marion Boyce

Award winning Costume Designer Marion Boyce

On the inspiration for the collection

I was keen to find out how the inspiration and collaboration with Every Cloud Productions, for the collection came about, and Marion told me it was really driven by the demand of the fans.

“People have been very excited about clothes and so after a while, ‘cos we we’re doing the costume exhibitions, we decided to put together a range” says Marion,“I get some really beautiful letters (from all around the world) and a lot of people wanting to come and do work experience”.

Miss Fisher Collection - An Interview with Costume Designer Marion Boyce

Miss Fisher Collection Marabou Shrug – Left: Smoky Tinkerbell, Right: Black with Diamante Buckle

I can imagine working on the Miss Fisher costumes would be any fashion and fabric lovers dream come true.

The series has been distributed to over 160 territories worldwide and has a huge international following, Marion puts the popularity down to Phryne’s contemporary sensibility and unique sense of style.

Labassa Mansion

On designing the pieces

I asked Marion how designing a range for ‘semi-mass production’ differed from making a one-off pieces for a character or scene. Turns out that Marion is not very good at mass production and this collection is made up of very limited edition pieces that are numbered just like limited edition art work.

“It’s very hard to source the fabric that I want. My desire for this range was that it needed to be fun, it needed to have the weight, the elegance and the swing.”

“I’m not a great fan of mass production, and when I find fabrics, often I can only make a few pieces, and I’ll only use a fabric that I know is going to work and has the quality. I’m just not good at compromises.”

Miss Fisher Collection - An Interview with Costume Designer Marion Boyce

Miss Fisher Collection Shawls – Left: The Statement Piece, Right: The Jazzy One

I had a chance to touch and feel all of the gorgeous pieces and all of the shawls featured very tactile elements, silky chiffons that just sink into your body, soft burnt out velvets and intricate vintage lace trims which have all been hand sewn on right here in Melbourne.

Marion is very aware that wearing period fashion is not always practical in our modern day lives, so she has also created the range with our modern lifestyles in mind. She has chosen fabric designs and colours which nod to 20’s style but still look up to date.

“It needs to be very wearable and adaptable… You live a life, you need to move. I didn’t want to reproduce the 20’s because a lot of that is not applicable to our life now, but I wanted the fun and sassiness of Miss Fisher.”

Labassa Mansion

Labassa Mansion Stained Glass Windows

On collecting fabric

As a fabric collector myself I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Marion about her collection and how she knows when it’s right to cut into a beautiful piece of fabric.

“it finds it’s place. There’s things that I have kept for years…Miss Fisher actually used up an enormous amount of my treasures, but they did find their home.”

“Every single piece of fabric has a totally different use. One of the most essential things for my world is that you have to actually understand exactly what do do with each piece of fabric, ‘cos it’s got it’s own language.”

I told Marion that I’ve been reducing my fabric collection and she can totally empathise with my predicament of being overwhelmed by the responsibility of keeping a whole room full of fabric in good condition.

Marion says, “it’s a lot of hard work keeping fabric, and storage takes up a lot of room, it’s not for the faint hearted.”

Marion uses an enormous amount of vintage trims, buttons, buckles, feathers and ribbons in her work, especially on period projects “it’s really fantastic to be able to use those pieces and to pay homage to the past.”

On jewellery shopping

The jewellery collection is beautifully crafted and sourced from all over the world, some of it is sterling silver with semi precious stones like marcasite and agate, and other pieces are pure costume jewellery with dazzling sparkle.

Miss Fisher jewellery collection

Miss Fisher Jewellery Collection, clockwise from top left: Earring No. 1, Brooch No.4, Earring No. 7, Brooch No. 12

“I went searching for some (jewellery) that was very current, but also very 20’s without being predictable 20’s.”

Marion tells me the jewellery shopping was so much fun, but she had to lock up her credit card because some of the pieces were so beautiful that the temptation was just too great. Her search took her to big jewellery fairs in Hong Kong where there were seven floors of low to very high end jewellery.

“Some of the high end Indian jewellery was just so beautiful, you were just transfixed, it was really moving…After doing the floors I could afford then it was very exciting doing the floors I couldn’t afford.”

Miss Fisher jewellery collection

Miss Fisher Collection Brooch No. 11 aka ‘The Bee Brooch’

I must say that Marion has done a great job in sourcing quality pieces that are still affordable. My favourite piece, the bee brooch is sterling silver with green agate and marcasite, beautifully detailed excellent value at $100. It’s really a stunning piece that would make a perfect gift that would be worn for decades to come.

Miss Fisher jewellery collection

Miss Fisher Collection Brooch No. 1 on Smoky Tinkerbell Marabou Shrug

What would Miss Fisher wear in 2016?

I was curious to know what Marion though Phryne would wear if she was around today. Surprisingly the answer was just as I’d imagined.

“I think she would still be an individual, she wouldn’t be in designer labeled clothes, she’d have her own sense of style. Elegant but an enormous amount of fun, with a sense of humour.”

And would she wear jeans? “Yes, everyone can wear jeans, but there’s nothing quite like jeans and a brooch with a velvet jacket!”

Phryne is my kind of girl!

Labassa Mansion

I could have chatted with Marion Boyce all day long, she was so passionate, full of knowledge and absolutely lovely. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to share my time with her, with you.

“Miss Fisher Collection – Marion Boyce” and is available exclusively online at www.everycloudonlineshop.com.

The full Miss Fisher Collection range includes brooches, earrings, handbags, shrugs and scarves. Any of the pieces would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift.

Limited edition pieces will be made available in small quantities with new pieces from the collection to be designed and released frequently.

Labassa Mansion

Labassa Mansion looking stunning as the sun sets behind it.

The range is also available at National Trust of Australia retail stores across Australia as part of the travelling Costume Exhibition (currently in Sydney until June 19).

For more Miss Fisher goodness – Read my review of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition


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