Along the way Tilly bares her heart and against her better judgement falls in love with local football hero, Teddy McSwiney (Liam Hemsworth). Most importantly, she forms an initially volatile but finally tender reconciliation with her mother Molly.
Director Jocelyn Moorhouse says: “A designer friend of mine once said to me, couture is a weapon and that stuck with me. I like the idea of a woman being able to use her skills at designing extraordinary clothes that can transform the people wearing them, and to use that as a weapon against those people.”
Fashion in “The Dressmaker” is about disguise. Tilly Dunnage takes advantage of the women in the town and appeals to their sense of competition and vanity. The women of Dungatar haven’t looked or felt good for a very long time, so it’s a way of luring people and giving them a false sense of hope. Tilly simply gives them enough rope – or ribbon – to hang themselves with. She lets them “bring themselves unstitched”, as Rosalie puns.
Kate Winslet says: “Tilly has trained as a couture dressmaker in France with Balenciaga and Dior and Madame Vionnet. The Dungatarians don’t really understand quite how magical and beautiful her creations truly are, they think it’s ‘dress up’. It’s kind of a gift that she’s giving them, as well as carrying out little bits of revenge along the way. They go from looking pale and a bit tea stained to looking like they’re all walking down a red carpet. It’s really quite striking.”
The post war 1950s were a time in which fashion had two competing movements - Christian Dior created ‘the new look’ in 1947, which took women back a little bit to the corset and the cinched waist. Madame Vionnet and Balenciaga were both couturiers who didn’t use artifice, they used what was already there and the way fabric was draped on the body to enhance the good qualities and disguise the bad.
Rosalie Ham says: “I wanted to make the distinction between those two things in The Dressmaker. You can be feminine and beautiful but you don’t have to wear a corset or alter yourself particularly to be able to do that.”
Check out Winslet’s runway-worthy creations in “The Dressmaker” when it opens November 4 in theaters nationwide from Axinite Digicinema.
Watch “The Dressmaker” trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZavDxSOhCE
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