Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

How 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' Captures the Roaring Fashion of the 1920s (Photos)

miss fisher
Support Provided By

Watch "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on KCET. Each episode will stream for two weeks following Sunday's broadcast here.

The Roaring Twenties ushered in a powerful social revolution. World War I swept away certain restrictions of class and old world attitudes. The right to vote, drive, and be heard catapulted women from subservient domesticity and allowed them to be more free spirited, progressive, and career-oriented. Phryne Fisher is a shining beacon of this modern woman. As the lead character in the mystery show, “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries,” Phryne exudes everything 1920s femininity.  Punctuating her status and modernity is her penchant for the fashion au courant!

A feisty, in-your-face, self-proclaimed female detective, Phryne is self confident, and unflappable. In control of her destiny and not reliant on a man, she moves easily through her world…and her costumes reflect this ease.  

Dropped waists, loose shifts, and shorter skirts allowed women to enjoy more physical activities.

Gone are the restrictive corsets of past eras. Her costumes define not only her independence, but social status, and joie de vivre. The twenties woman enjoyed active days, sports, and dancing which required easy-to-wear costumes -- comfortable, unstructured, and allowing freedom of movement. 

Bobbed hair no longer required hours of maintenance. Phryne embraces and flaunts these freedoms and is the poster girl for this era. 

miss fisher fasion
miss fisher action

Since we see Phryne involved in chase scenes and various climbing predicaments, the need for trousers is prominent and the show’s costume designer, Marion Boyce, has created a beautifully varied wardrobe for Phryne. Her day wear includes full cut period trousers, floaty chiffon day dresses with handkerchief hems, cloche hats, exquisite period heels, and accessories. Miss Boyce uses vintage fabrics, period construction details, and accessories to create the show’s simplified period silhouette.

Not having the budget of a show such as “Downton Abbey,” Boyce deftly utilizes fashion influences of the period: Art Deco geometric patterns, and the occasional richly embroidered Chinese silks to help define the era. Phryne’s fashions are consistently playful and vivacious with the correct silhouette and styling, but not buried in beading and details. Her party clothes are lightly detailed flapper styles with a sense of humor which accentuate her bold personality traits.

miss fisher fasion 2
miss fisher fasion

The show is a costuming whirlwind. The characters visit a variety of locales: requiring costumes from all walks of society, and varied activities: vintage bathing costumes at the shore, maids and servants at work, to elegant period costume balls. A costume designer’s job is to support the story arc and define the characters, and Boyce offers the perfect dash of period and "character" without great excess.

A costume designer’s job is to support the story arc and define the characters.

Phriney’s costumes are distinctly character and period driven. Clearly defined, there’s no confusion about who she is and what she believes. While Phryne is a well-heeled, bold fashionista indulging in richly colored fashion statements, her gal/pal assistant, Dot, is clearly subdued, sensible and down to earth.  Wearing simple styles made of serviceable fabrics, her silhouette is less detailed as befits her station in life. Compared to Phryne’s patterned, fringed, coifed, cocoon cloaked, feathered, raccoon-ed and cloched “20s flapper”, the supporting cast reveals all social strata of the era. 

A showcase for all that is 1920s fashion, the show and Phryne get it right!  

fisher cast
aunt prudence
dot
death at victoria dock
miss fisher

Support Provided By
Read More
J. Sergio O'Cadiz Moctezuma wearing a black suit and tie, sitting on a fireplace mantle. His leg is crossed over the other and a writing surface is resting on his knee. He's looking down and appears to be writing something down. He's smiling.

Sergio O'Cadiz and the Forgotten Artists of Color in Orange County

The arc of arts leader Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma is a lesson on the dynamics of artists of color in the Orange County. Just like there’s a link between U.S. history and ethnic cleansing in history books, there exists a similar link between the acknowledgement of a culture’s experienced reality and its representation in the Orange County art scene.
A man in a suit with his hands behind his back looks on to a digital art piece on a large LED screen mounted on a black gallery wall. The digital art piece features a large red dot resembling a setting sun with floating white "icebergs" on a black water surface.

2022 L.A. Art Show Looks to the Future with NFTs and the Environment

Questions around the rise of NFT-backed art and the looming threat of climate change are big themes that permeate the 2022 L.A. Art Show which runs from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23.
Four members of Weapons of Mass Creation pose for a photo, lit in golden hues by a setting sun. The member on the far left is Enrique. He is wearing a navy blue cap with a skull on it. He is dark-skinned and has a beard. To Enrique's right is Josh who is wearing a woven brown and cream bucket hat over his dreads. He is also dark-skinned and has a beard. To Josh's right is Julia who has long black hair and is wearing a crushed velvet orange zip up hoodie. She is looking directly at the camera. To Julia's right is Moses who is wearing a black jacket and rose-colored sunglasses. His hand is up to his brow, shading his eyes from the sun.

How Anaheim-Born Hip Hop Group Weapons of Mass Creation Started the Revolution at Home

Born and raised in Anaheim, WOMC is a form of resistance among the mass-produced world of music. Their collective talent oozes originality and intent; their lyrics amplify the Anaheim communities they grew up in and tell stories of police brutality, generational trauma and misogyny.