Roaring `20s fashion tips

Roaring 20s Festival ambassador and fashion historian Charlotte Smith with items from her collection. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Roaring 20s Festival ambassador and fashion historian Charlotte Smith with items from her collection. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Ellen Hill

It’s the day of the Blue Mountains Charleston Challenge in Leura Mall, but what do Sophie, Mabel and Dolly, George, Bertie and Henry wear? For that matter, what do they don to schmooze with society’s elite at the Great Art Deco Ball at THE place to be seen, The Carrington Hotel?

Enter Roaring 20s Festival and all that Jazz! ambassador Charlotte Smith, Leura fashion historian and curator and owner of The Darnell Collection of Vintage Couture

, the largest private collection of international couture clothing from the 19th and 20th centuries.

“The easiest thing for women is to get a dress with no waist (it could even be a pretty silky nightgown or a slinky slip). Take a belt or a cord, lower it down and tie it so it’s down around the hips rather than around the waist so you get that lovely shapeless blousy sack shape they always had.’’

The effect could be completed with a long string of beads around your neck and a ribbon or headband around your forehead set with a jewel or some other bauble.

“A pair of gloves – that would be cute; a boa would be nice too,’’ Charlotte said. “And shoes need to be those Mary Jane type with lower heels and a strap over the instep of the foot or even around the ankle.’’

Men should wear an unfitted suit – “tailored but not snug’’. Alternatively, golfing plus fours or linen trousers would be acceptable.

“They could wear a cravat or a scarf tucked inside their open shirt. Braces are always good and a white silk shirt.’’

Hats should be a homburg, fedora or a golfing cap.

Join Charlotte Smith and Phryne Fisher Murder Mysteries series scriptwriter Kristen Dunphy as they discuss an upcoming episode where murder and fashion collide in a delicious “murder a la vogue’’.

Hear the inside story from Kristen as she delves into the couture world in Melbourne in the 1920s to help Phryne solve a mysterious murder which happens in a well known fashion store.

A selection of stylish 1920s outfits, most suitable for the leading lady detective, will be paraded by two models during the intimate conversation-style show.

“It will be really fascinating for people to hear how the script is written for a popular television series,’’ Charlotte said.

While the catwalk outfits will be kept under wraps until the day, she promised day and evening wear with “lots of gorgeous silk and chiffon and plenty of beading and fringing to define the 1920s era – they’ll be very socialist’’.

“The models of course will be completely accessorised. They’ll have the original hats and gloves and jewellery from the time so they’ll look they’ve stepped straight out of the pages of a Phryne Fisher mystery of the 1920s.’’

The Phryne Fisher fashion show will be held at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba St, Katoomba, on Sunday, February 24. Guests are invited to stay for afternoon tea and meet Charlotte and Kristen at 2pm. Tickets: $27 plus booking fee for fashion talk and parade $27; $52 plus booking fee for fashion talk and grand high tea with optional upgrade to regal high tea (an extra $7.50).

Details and bookings: (02) 4782 1111, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

Visit for program details.

1 comment
  1. sandra luxford said:

    Terrific! Sandy

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