When millions of people tuned into Neighbors to watch Charlene and Scott’s wedding in 1987, it was dubbed the greatest soap opera wedding of all time.
Most important points:
- Charlene’s wedding dress usually lives in a box at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
- It was donated to the museum by Grundy Television, but the whereabouts of her veil, shoes and gloves are unknown
- The dress will be on display at the museum until July 31, before being safely put away again
Kylie Minogue, who played Charlene, was less than a month away from releasing her debut single Locomotion, but her on-air wedding to Scott, played by Jason Donovan, was an international event in its own right.
To mark the moment’s 35th anniversary – and the end of Neighbors after 37 years – the Cinderella-inspired dress worn by Minogue is about to be exhibited at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for the first time in 20 years. (TMAG), Hobart.
“I think it’s very important that TMAG offers a broad program, and sometimes that just means doing something fun,” says Melissa Edwards of TMAG.
The silk, organza and lace dress is kept safe in a box in the dark in the museum, where it has been kept since 1989.
It has been sent twice to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, twice to the UK, and it was featured at a Melbourne wedding show, making it one of the museum’s most borrowed items.
The Neighbors wedding scene, featuring Angry Anderson’s song, Suddenly, will be projected onto a wall near the clothing display.
How did it get to Tasmania?
The museum wanted to collect 100 wedding dresses from the 20th century to preserve social history.
Senior curator Peter Hughes said the idea of the collection was to reflect fashions as they changed and to capture famous people or events.
“The dress was really a perfect choice and we were very lucky,” he said.
A proactive volunteer from the museum approached Grundy Television about donating the dress.
Expecting the request to be denied, the museum was pleasantly surprised by Grundy’s decision to make the donation.
“That’s not something they would normally do. I was told they would normally auction off surplus suits,” Mr Hughes said.
“They put it in a big padded mail bag and sent it downstairs.”
A romantic design
The wedding dress project was later canceled due to the huge logistics involved in stocking all the dresses, and the fact that wedding dresses were often traditional and didn’t really reflect the fashion of the time.
Except of course Charlene’s dress.
“If you also think of Lady Diana’s wedding, it has had quite an impact on wedding fashion.”
The dress was created by Jocelyn Creed in a wedding boutique near the Neighbors studio.
Ms. Creed had experience with stage costumes and worked on outfits for the television show Young Talent Time and the Australian film Evil Angels.
save the dress
Mr Hughes said the dress had recently been thoroughly cleaned and permanently fitted to a mold for better preservation.
“It lives in a box of tissues and is kept in the dark,” he said.
Visitors to the museum can view the dress in a special darkroom.
Mr Hughes said the dress had only been modeled by one other person since Kylie Minogue wore the dress.
That happened in 1989 when the museum got it.
Veil, shoes and gloves are missing
It is unknown where the shoes, veil and gloves are, and Mr Hughes said the museum would be interested in completing the set.
“If they can be found and are guaranteed to match the dress, then absolutely,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a shame.”
A replica of Scott and Charlene’s wedding cake is in the possession of Museums Victoria and was on display between 2000 and 2007.
The museum will host a special ticketing event called Scott and Charlene’s Wedding Reception on Friday, July 1, and ABC Radio Hobart’s Your Afternoon program will be broadcast live from the museum from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM.
The dress will go back in a box after the public display ends on July 31.
“After this, it will be a long rest,” said Mr Hughes.
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