Wednesday, July 18, 2018

POSTWAR STYLE: Costume as a character in "A Place to Call Home"

  • first posted 2/27/18; reposted 7/18/18
If you're missing the costume dramas that kept us entertained during 
the last decade or so -- I'm thinking of Mad Men or Miss Fisher's
          Murder Mysteries or Downton Abbey -- you might find your 
             heart's desire in A Place to Call Home,
       "Australia's little series that could."  (Sydney Morning Herald)

This series makes a meal out of period fashion and design from the 1950s, 
treating it as a quintessential character in the show. Sweet shirtwaist dresses,
twirly A-line skirts, padded shoulders, "twin sets" (a matching shell sweater 
and long-sleeved cardigan ensemble, often worn with pearls
and single-breasted coats abound as the choices for women.
For men, dapper hats (think Don Draper's classic fedora) worn with comfortably fitting full-cut, slightly drape-y suits are what's in. The prevailing design  
ethos of the era was being able to take virtually any man’s body type 
and make it look good through proper tailoring.

Below: Actor Brett Climo is perfectly appointed and
appropriately slouchy here as George Bligh, a wealthy landowner 
from Inverness with a heart of gold.

°     °     °      °     °     °

Above: vindictive, conniving villianess Regina Bligh (Jenny Baird),
 dressed to kill, in rich mauve and jet black. She
reminds me of the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. 

 Regina was toned way down
 by three years of repentance in a psychiatric hospital. 
If you're an aficionado of the show,
you'll have noticed the dramatic change in her costumes
from bright, spotlight-grabbing primary colors to 
neutral, wishy washy ones.

Costume director Lisa Meagher
 says that she puts Regina (Jenni Baird) in florals 
when the character is "trying to be nice".

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Sara Nordman, just off the boat, arriving in Australia

I've always put the show's heroine Sara (played by Marta Dusseldorp) 
above fashion, due to her history as a Holocaust survivor and her wise  
down-to-earthness. Below are a couple of her looks.

Is Sarah's lovely sweater/jumper an argyle pattern or not?
See comments section (below) to read a lively debate about this subject!

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

Below: Abby Earl as Anna Poletti,
trying (unsuccessfully) to be happy as farmer Gino's wife. 

But no ...

She's much happier being Anna Bligh,
bestselling author and elegant glamour girl.

°     °     °     °     °     °
Anna's formerly secret parents, bohemian Carolyn and 
Dr. Jack Duncan (Sara Wiseman and Craig Hall)  -- a married couple
in real life -- strike a stylish Bonnie and Clyde pose.

°     °     °     °     °     °

Family matriarch Elizabeth Bligh (played by Australian film icon Noni 
Hazlehurst) starts off in the series as a judgemental, intimidating character, 
but life experience forces her to see her homophobia and anti-Semitism for
the ugly traits they are. As her attitudes soften, so
does her wardrobe. 

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

Where's season 6, Lizzie?

~ oOo ~

Seasons 1-5 can be watched on
Season 6 is currently beginning production. 
Update: Season 6 has completed production, and
will be aired in fall 2018.


  1. Dear Readers, Yes, this is the place for comments on Mad for Mod! I'd appreciate it if you could leave questions or remarks here on my blog, rather than on Facebook, because more people will see them. (Both places are fine too!) Thanks.

  2. Regarding your question about Sarah's lovely sweater, how about calling it "argyle-style"?

  3. Catherine Nyhan CheneyJanuary 19, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    I wouldn't call it an argyle knit. It's more an argyle wanna-be. :-)

  4. I love it1 The perfect compromise.

  5. I've seen the spirited debate about argyle vs. not argyle on Facebook. I like the "argyle-style" compromise too. Strong feelings on both sides, aren't there?

  6. Sarah looks nice and warm in it as well as beautiful. Sarah wears a lot of hand knitted jumpers in 1953 as we all did, and Carolyn wears one with feather and fan pattern more than once. We always had knitting on the go.

  7. Canadians call them sweaters but I used to be British and grew up with jumpers and call them either name depending who I am talking to.

  8. No it's not an Argyle sweater.

  9. ‪I'd say it's more of a window pane plaid.

  10. This is just one example. If you google window pane plaid image you'll see lots that have just a single line. But all of them are squares and Sarah's sweater is diamonds like an Argyle. So it's a hybrid

  11. It looks like a pattern from Pringles of Scotland ...

  12. I'm saying yes, it is argyle. I like old knitting patterns so when I saw this post I had a look online and found some that look very like that design and are called argyle. Mind you I also found a pattern for a knitted argyle jumper for an Afghan hound!