The Dressmaker: Haute Couture Arrives

The Dressmaker: Haute Couture Arrives
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A rival seamstress, Una Pleasance (Sacha Horler), arrives in Dungatar at the invitation of Shire President, Evan Pettyman (Shane Bourne). She is astounded by the sight of the townspeople going about their daily routine dressed in striking couture gowns and beautifully tailored daywear. 

This scene from The Dressmaker (2015) has a kooky and bizarre comic element to it, particularly the sight of Gertrude Pratt (Sarah Snook) teetering across the dusty dirt road in high heels and tightly fitted frock with arms outstretched. Meanwhile her mother Muriel (Rebecca Gibney), the local shopkeeper, is atop a ladder reaching for a blown lightbulb in the backside of the 'Golden Fleece' sign while dressed in a powder blue, Grecian-style, draped gown. 

While showcasing many of the beautiful costumes from the film and how they contrast with the dusty, brown setting of Dungatar, the scene also signals the impact Tilly (Kate Winslet) is already having upon the town, with the locals abuzz over the latest crate of exotic fabrics that has just arrived for her from overseas.

At first the young ladies of the town are suspicious of Una, not wanting to share their secret about the source of their fine clothes, until Muriel reveals the details of the 'local girl ... up on the hill'.

Author Rosalie Ham sometimes signposts her characters' personalities through their names. For example, Una Pleasance reveals her 'unpleasantness' to Tilly during their first exchange, while sleazy politician Evan Pettyman is indeed a petty man. It comes as no surprise then to learn that these two contemptuous characters have teamed up against Tilly.