[Images taken as stills by me, from Youtube footage of The Thorn Birds].
If you can excuse the worrying moral implications of a drama that involves a man falling in love with a woman he first met when she was a young child and he was the local priest, there’s a lot to enjoy in The Thorn Birds. This 1980s serialised adaptation contains dodgy fake Australian accents, rebellious teens and one of the most unlikely style icons I’ve ever seen: that of an evil but wealthy old crone, Mary Carson. Despite her machinations, she has an excellent sense of style and really brings the 1920s to life, making her instantly watchable. Here you can see her in an Art Deco-inspired piece with intricate beading and vertical lines to give the illusion of height and stature.
As you can see in this screenshot, Mary Carson can change from well-mannered lady to bitter old woman at the drop of a hat. She loves to wear lace, which seems fitting for her personality as it is a fabric that can be both delicate and suggestive, depending on how it is worn.
No-nonsense Mary works the newer fashion for sensible day clothes as she realises time has moved on since the innocent days of hosting balls and courting. This is an outfit more suited to the location of the story, an Australian farming community, but it also catches my eye as being similar to Ralph Lauren's recent SS/11 designs which heavily featured white, camel and brown.
Yet here goes Mary, swinging back into eveningwear again, but this time in her favourite midnight blue and with a distinct nod to the 1920s. She never needs to wear screamingly loud colours or ostentatious clothing, because her personality does all the talking (and shuts everyone else up). Mary Carson, you may be a dragon, but I want your wardrobe.