Undressing Priscilla Collection

How many times do I have to tell you? Green is not your colour!

Felicia Jollygoodfellow

Navigating the Exhibition

You can navigate through this exhibition using the dots and chapter headings left of screen.

The arrow controls at bottom left and right of screen allow you to move back and forward between slides within each chapter.

You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate.

We hope you enjoy this exhibition!

Undressing Priscilla

Priscilla was the first film for costume designer Tim Chappel, who was hired by director Stephan Elliott because he had seen his work for Sydney drag shows. The costumes harbour many stories, including a failed experiment with a frock made of Vegemite toast and pom poms produced using prison labour. Tim and colleague Lizzy Gardiner won the 1994 Oscar for Best Costumes.

Tim Chappel Q & A

'An incredibly delicious adventure'

Salsa and Sequins

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.

Tim Chappel: Creating The Green Dress

'I was going for kooky, Sydney drag queens'

Seven Dollar Couture

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. 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, Tim called on his mother’s staff discount at Target to buy the materials for a 'hefty’ total sum of $7.00.

Tim Chappel: Creating The Thong Dress

'Australia's national shoe - thongs!'

Prisoners and Pompoms

The Wattle Dress is only on screen for a few seconds, but it iconically represents Australian flora. Within 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 yellow pompoms on the costume were industriously produced by inmates of the Long Bay Correctional Complex.

Tim Chappel: Creating The Wattle Dress

'I'm going to die before I finish this!'

Think you know Priscilla?

Film trivia

1
Director Stephan Elliott has stated that his inspiration for the film was the sight of feathers from a drag queen’s headpiece rolling down an empty street post-Mardi Gras.
2
Many original costumes were destroyed during transportation when the hot glue and sequins melted together in the desert heat.
3
The American Express card dress that Lizzy Gardiner wore to the Oscars was auctioned off for $12,650 to raise funds for AIDS Research.

The End

Aren't we fabulous?

Mitzi Del Bra

Acknowledgements

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

  • Exhibition Producer: Rebecca Williams
  • Curator: Tenille Hands
  • 360 Degree Photography: Darren Weinert and Tony Rowley
  • Conservation: Shingo Ishikawa
  • Video Production: Terry Stuetz