https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/collection/hero_image11-2016/priscilla_kings_canyon_2.jpg

Priscilla

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Celebrate the Oscar-winning Australian film icon: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

We're sharing behind-the-scenes photographs of the costumes from the film as well as interviews with costume designer Tim Chappel, posters, photographs and production documents from the NFSA collection.

Special thanks to Rebel Penfold-Russell and Tim Chappel, without whom this collection would not have been possible.

This collection complements our Undressing Priscilla online exhibition.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: Where are you blokes from?
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1038287
Courtesy:
Latent Image Productions
Year:
Year

After a drunken night at a pub in Broken Hill, the three drag artists – Mitzi (Hugo Weaving), Felicia (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) – awake to find their bus defaced with an anti-gay slogan. They leave the city depressed and upset, but Felicia cheers the day by practicing her operatic miming on the roof of Priscilla, their bus. Summary by Paul Byrnes.

Priscilla: 20 Years Young - creating the iconic costumes

Academy Award-winning costume designer Tim Chappel (Mental, Miss Congeniality) discusses the inspiration behind the iconic, Oscar-winning frocks from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and the challenges resulting from the film's low budget.

Ralph/Bernadette (Terence Stamp) in 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/terence_stamp.jpg
Terence Stamp transforms to 'Bernadette'
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
353279
Year:
Year

Ralph/Bernadette (Terence Stamp) in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Photograph by Elise Lockwood.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/11-2016/emu_costumes_1.jpg
The emu costumes

Screenshot from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving perform on stage in flamboyant emu costumes.

Polish film poster for the moive The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert showing a silhouette of a bare-chested man with red coloured lips and surounded with an assortment of colourful fabrics and shapes.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/polish_priscilla.jpg
Polish film poster
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1012717
Year:
Year

This Polish one-sheet poster for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) depicts the vibrant quirkiness of the film.

360 viewer
The Green Dress
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
607048
Courtesy:
Tim Chappel and Rebel Penfold-Russell
Year:
Year

This costume from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, includes a lime green sequined body suit with matching wrap-around skirt worn by Hugo Weaving (as Anthony 'Tick' Belrose AKA Mitzi Del Bra).

Images of Hugo Weaving in this costume - designed by Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel - were used in all promotional material for the film.

It comprises a lime-green sequined body suit, with black brocade strips along boning and cups and black fringe at the base. Above the bra cups sit silver iridescent sequined frill and shoulder straps. A lime-green lycra flamenco skirt with iridescent sequined frills completes the costume.

Click 'View More' below to see a 360-degree view of the costume.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/11-2016/hugo_weaving_wears_the_green_dress.jpg
Hugo Weaving wearing The Green Sequined Dress

When director Stephan Elliott approached Tim Chappel about creating a salsa-inspired dress, he collaborated with co-designer Lizzy Gardiner to use recycled materials for the sequined corset and fluorescent green lycra skirt. At the time no one could predict that the image of Hugo Weaving as Mitzi Del Bra, with her green skirts blowing in the wind, would ultimately capture the film's glamour and become a key visual motif.

In this scene from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mitzi dons a green sequined dress and dances in the desert after the beloved 'Priscilla' bus breaks down.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/11-2016/lizzard_1.jpg
The Lizard costume

Screenshot from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Hugo Weaving wears a fierce frilled neck lizard costume.

Priscilla Wins Best Costume Design: 1994 Oscars

This excerpt from the 1994 Oscars shows Costume Designer Tim Chappel and co-designer Lizzy Gardiner from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert receiving the best costume award from presenter Sharon Stone. Lizzy wears a dress constructed of gold American Express credit cards.

360 viewer
The Thong Dress
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
607043
Courtesy:
Tim Chappel and Rebel Penfold-Russell
Year:
Year

'The Thong Dress' was one of the most memorable costumes from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The pink, orange and black mini-dress is made of rubber thongs, and was worn by Hugo Weaving (Anthony 'Tick' Belrose, AKA Mitzi Del Bra). 

This mod-inspired costume consists of an arrangement of thongs and clever colour choice, and features Chanel gold-linked chain detailing. Due to a tight budget, costume designer Tim Chappel called on his mother’s staff discount at Target to buy the materials for a total sum of $7.00!

This item includes the dress, a matching pair of platform thongs and a matching handbag with gold chain.

Click 'View More' below to see a 360-degree view of the costume.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/image/image09-2016/thong_dress_3.jpg
Hugo Weaving wearing The Thong Dress

Mitzi Del Bra (Hugo Weaving) turns heads when she struts her stuff in the Thong Dress on the main street of Broken Hill in full regalia. 

A scene from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert featuring the costume designed by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner. 

Hugo Weaving on the Thong Dress
Year:
Year

In an exclusive interview with the NFSA, actor Hugo Weaving talks about the challenges of wearing the iconic thong dress from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) and what the costume revealed about the character. 

Red and yellow feathered headpiece from 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/red_and_yellow_headpiece.jpg
Red and yellow headpiece
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
607046
Year:
Year

Red and yellow feathered headpiece from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: I will survive
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1038287
Courtesy:
Latent Image Productions
Year:
Year

Priscilla, the bus, has broken down in the desert. An Aboriginal man (Alan Dargin) invites the three drag artists to his nearby camp, where they put on an impromptu show. Everyone joins in, including a didgeridoo player. Summary by Paul Byrnes.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
360 viewer
The Wattle Dress
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
606783
Courtesy:
Tim Chappel and Rebel Penfold-Russell
Year:
Year

'The Wattle Dress' is a costume worn by Guy Pearce (AKA Adam Whitely / Felicia JollyGoodFellow) in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The unique costume comprises a lined golden G-string leotard, covered with plastic green foliage and tulle yellow and gold pom poms to replicate wattle. It was designed by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner.

The yellow pompoms on the costume were produced by inmates of the Long Bay Correctional Complex.

Click 'View More' below to see a 360-degree view of the costume.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/image/image10-2016/wattle_5.jpg
Guy Pearce wearing The Wattle Dress

The Wattle Dress is only on screen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for a few seconds, but it iconically represents Australian flora.

In this scene Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pearce) glides smoothly down a high-heel shaped slide, but in reality the 'ride' proved painful and bloody for the bare-cheeked actor.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Queens of King's Canyon
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1038287
Courtesy:
Latent Image Productions
Year:
Year

Tick/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) attempts to become more ‘masculine’ in the eyes of his son Benji (Mark Holmes), but the boy reassures his father that he accepts him as he is. Mitzi then joins Felicia (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) in full drag for the climb to the top of King’s Canyon, thus fulfilling Felicia’s ambition. Summary by Paul Byrnes.

Poster from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert which is autographed by the crew. The poster features the iconic image of Hugo Weaving wearing the green sequin dress with the desert in the background
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/priscilla_poster_autographed_by_crew.jpg
Poster Autographed by crew
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
356007
Year:
Year

Australian one-sheet poster from the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The poster is autographed by members of the crew, including Stephan Elliott (Director), Rebel Penfold-Russell (Producer) and Tim Chappel (Costume Designer).

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/11-2016/opera_house_1.jpg
Opera House costumes

Screenshot from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp perform on stage in a series of dazzling costumes, the most elaborate of which replicates the silhouette of Sydney's famous Opera House.

Lemon headpiece designed for 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/lemon_headpiece.jpg
Lemon headpiece
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
608794
Year:
Year

Lemon headpiece designed for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/11-2016/guy_pierce_wearing_flowing_silver_costume_as_he_stands_on_top_of_the_moving_bus_wide_shot.jpg
Guy Pearce practicing operatic miming on the roof of Priscilla

Screenshot from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Guy Pearce rides the Priscilla bus through the desert, draped in a shimmering silver train.

Writer/Director notes
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
608645
Year:
Year

Writer/director's notes from Proposal document for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/03/06/tim_chappel_mending_costumes.jpg
Tim Chappel repairing a costume

Tim Chappel visited the NFSA for the 20 Year celebration of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Whilst on site, he repaired costumes from the film including the pink beaded dress featured.

Green and yellow feathered headpiece from 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/green_and_yellow_headpiece.jpg
Green and yellow headpiece
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
608785
Year:
Year

Green and yellow feathered headpiece from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Bob (Bill Hunter) in 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/10-2016/bill_hunter.jpg
Bob (Bill Hunter)
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
352721
Year:
Year

Bob (Bill Hunter) in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Photograph by Elise Lockwood.