Miss Phryne Fisher – Lovin’ the 1920’s

image from the Australian Broadcasting Company

“Dot, a woman should dress first and foremost for her own pleasure. Having grown up in second flannels, there is nothing quite so divine as the feel of silk underwear, the touch of soft fox, the slither of a satin skirt. If these things happen to appeal to men, well… really that’s a side issue.” Miss Phryne Fisher

In the past I never cared for 1920’s fashions. The dumpy, shapeless dresses did nothing for me. I liked the cloche hats and the cool shoes. But the big, blocky fur coats left me cold. I mean, look at the men’s clothing. It was so spiffy while the women looked like sacks of spuds. I’ve changed my opinion, though, and it’s primarily thanks to a single Australian television production.

If you’re not familiar with the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, you might want to take a peek. The Hon. Miss Phryne (pronounced fry-nee) Fisher is a very modern woman who isn’t afraid to use her mind and speaks it freely as well. The costuming is meticulously researched and executed. No detail is overlooked or shortcut. It just might change your mind, as it did mine. I’ve become a…ahem…rather enthusiastic fan. The series is shown on PBS stations here in the US and is also available on Acorn TV, Hulu, and, I believe, Netflix.

The television program (or programme, as it’s spelt Down Under) is based on a series of novels by Kerry Greenwood. The books are excellent, but it’s the program that connected me with ’20s fashion. Essie Davis plays Miss Fisher and the supporting cast is outstanding. The costuming is under the meticulous watch of costume designer Marion Boyce. It’s a visual wonder and pure eye candy. (Note: all of the Miss Fisher images in this post were taken from Pinterest with varying original sources, most unnamed.)

I adore the hats, created by Mandy Murphy Millinery, of Melbourne, Australia, and the outstanding headpieces.

And then there are the shoes…those fabulously fun shoes. Usually heels. Often, thought not always, T-strap. Sometimes plain, sometimes two-tone, and occasionally just plain lush.

So, you may well ask, what does all of this have to do with anything other than my rabid Phryne Fisher fan-ship? Every once in a while, a 1920’s event comes up and I have absolutely nothing to wear. That used to be because I detested the fashion and wouldn’t be caught dead in a saggy dress. Now that my eyes have learned to appreciate the style and shapes, I want to be ready for the next “do.”

I’ve been looking for a reasonable pair of 1920’s party shoes for a couple of years now. Something comfortable with modern construction that could reasonably pass for the era without going far awry. And this afternoon, I found them. At Goodwill, no less. They fit. They are comfortable. They’re made of leather, have barely been worn and cost only $7. Label me thrilled.

Of course, taking photos of shoes on one’s own foot is never a good idea because the proportion of one’s leg ends up looking bizarre. But I did it any way…and cropped like mad.

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I have plans for these shoes. I want to take them from Plain Janes to Phryne Fisher Style.

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Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries - Phryne's Blue shoes

One of the upcoming HSM Challenges is “Silver Screen” and I believe I found my project today. Even if the silver screen I’m honoring is of the smaller variety.

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6 thoughts on “Miss Phryne Fisher – Lovin’ the 1920’s

    • Thanks for the link – LOVE the shoes! I’ll take one of each, please. 😉

      The show is great fun: snappy dialogue, fun characters, serious issues of the time, sub-plots, and romantic tension, too. Something for everyone. I’m currently trying to hunt down season 3…it’s out there somewhere.

      And after messing around with period closures that take forever to get aligned and secured, I’m really lovin’ the notion of pull-on, over-the-head dresses. 🙂

  1. I’m also not a fan of the 20s, mostly because its not flattering to my body shape, nor do I have the legs for it. However, I LOVE her hair and those hats.
    Great find on the shoes!
    Val

    • It’s not really flattering to my shape either, generally speaking. I’m a bottom-heavy hourglass – the exact opposite of the shape needed to pull those fashions off well. I have the same problem with 1930’s styles. But I’ve managed to find a couple of patterns, both vintage and reproductions, from each era that will work with my shape instead of against it. I’ll be doing a post about finding ’20s and 30’s styles that work for those of us with curves so you’ll be able to see what I’ve discovered so far.

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