View our online-only costumes exhibition

MEL BONDFIELD

Australia's most fabulous road trip movie opened in Australian cinemas 25 years ago – on 8 September 1994. To celebrate, we're Undressing Priscilla all over again.

In 1994 an independent Aussie film about three drag performers travelling across the desert from Sydney to the Alice became an unlikely worldwide box-office – and Oscar-winning – hit. 

The film brought the Sydney drag scene out of the nightclubs and onto the big screen for mainstream moviegoers to enjoy, with the help of a killer soundtrack and a stellar cast.

From King's Canyon to the Oscars

It's easy to see why audiences everywhere fell in love with the movie when you revisit breathtaking scenes such as this, when Tick/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving), Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) climb to the top of King’s Canyon in full drag:

And then, there were those Academy Award-winning costumes from the design team of Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner.

Side by side images. On the left a dress on a mannequin made out of pink and orange rubber thongs. On the right is a still from Priscilla Queen of the Desert showing Hugo Weaving wearing the dress with a pink wig in a crowded street.

Hugo Weaving wearing the famous 'Thong Dress' in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 1994.

Who could forget the famous 'thong dress', worn by Hugo Weaving, or the wattle headdress made from yellow pom-poms, or the silver gown worn by Guy Pearce as he sat on a giant stiletto on top of the bus, lip-syncing to opera?

The designs were pure genius, both in their outrageousness and in the simplicity of their uniquely Australian brand of kitsch.

Learn more about the costumes, and the stories behind them, in our online-only exhibition, Undressing Priscilla, featuring exclusive interviews with Tim Chappel at the NFSA.

So raise a glass and climb back on board the big pink bus to celebrate the 25th birthday of this much-loved Aussie film.

You can find even more more Priscilla fun in our curated collection devoted to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.