Wendy Cork - Costume Designer


Jess De Gouw brings 1880′s fashion to the screen


I designed this outfit for Jess De Gouw for a recent Australian television drama “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab” produced by Burberry Productions for ABC Television.

The body of the dress is silk taffeta and with a water wave taffeta swag and bustle, I used a combination of modern and antique trims. The dress is designed so the jacket can be removed and a beaded evening top can be worn with the skirt, transforming a formal day outfit to an elegant evening dress, both time and cost saving devices necessary in modern television making.

The taffeta holds the shape of the swag beautifully and the silk shines like a dream in real or stage lighting. The shape is also maintained by the period accurate under-pinnings that were made specifically for Jess, the corset was able to pull Jess’s waist in at least 2″. This outfit was constructed by one of my favourite cutters, Terry Thorley.

I always work with the same milliner, Rosie Boylan, I first met her when I was employed as her assistant on a production of “Les Miserables”, I love the way we work together and love our discussions about hats and character.

To both of us, a hat must convey character, it must belong to the wearer not just be an accessory to an outfit. Here we have used a very masculine shape but then softened off with antique velvet trims and a veil of Edwardian black lace.

Here’s a link to the film, maybe you want to check it out.