Summary

This dress was designed by Melbourne-born USA-based fashion designer Richard Tyler. It is from his Resort 2001 collection, which was inspired by the flora of the Caribbean Islands. It was sold in upmarket department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Barney's of New York, and retailed for $3,200 usd.

It was worn by actor Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in the television series 'Sex in the City'. The dress featured in the series three final episode 'Cock a Doodle Do'. According to Tyler, the show's stylish Patricia Fields was shown the dress and thought it was the perfect dress for the scene. As the scene involved falling into the Central Park lake, two dresses were used. One of the dresses was sold for charity in 2001 for $2500.00, while the other one, this one, was retained in the personal collection of Ms Parker, who donated it to the Museum in 2003.

Physical Description

Pink silk chiffon dress with assymetrical hemline and panel across bust aread edged with languid ruffles. Small cupped sleeves. Material is decorated with a hand painted floral print.

Significance

This dress is significant to Museum Victoria due to its links to Melbourne fashion designer Richard Tyler.

Tyler was born in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine on September 22nd, 1946. His mother, Topsie Tyler, was a renown seamstress, specialising in wedding dresses and theatrical attire (including costumes for the Tivoli Theatre and various ballet and dance companies.) Tyler learned the craft from his mother, and attributes his tailoring skills and attention to detail to his mother's influence. An infrequent school attendee, Tyler spent his days visiting the cinema (where he gained his love of the style and glamour of Hollywood) and wandering the streets of Melbourne, imagining one day that his own creations would be on display in the exclusive boutiques of Collins Street.

Leaving School at 15, he found employment as a pattern cutter, first for women's lingerie, then on shirts at Gloweave. At 21, he opened a shop called `Zippity Doo Da' in Toorak Road (later renamed `Quinzy's'), and almost immediately attracted the attention of the young hip `monied' crowd, including rock stars such as The Bee Gees, John Paul Young, Dragon and Sherbert. He made outfits for Countdown Host Molly Meldrum, who recalled Tyler as `shy and introverted, but an amazing worker, with an amazing attention to detail.'

In the mid 1970's the shop sent Tyler broke, followed by the loss of both his parents. Disillusioned, Tyler spent the next ten years living a nomadic life, living in Australia, Norway and the USA, and touring with musicians such as Diana Ross, Elton John and The Village People. He finally settled in Los Angeles, after meeting his future wife Lisa Trafficante. They opened a boutique `Tyler-Triafficante' in 1988 (with Richard designing and Lisa taking care of the business side). Its reputation spread quickly, and within 3 years the turnover was $8 million, as they dressed Hollywood's A-List (including an array of Oscar and Emmy Award outfits.)

In 1993 he presented his first runway show in New York, going on to win the Best New Talent Award. This was followed by the Best Women's Wear Designer in 1994, and Best Men's Wear Designer in 1995. He spent time designing for other fashion houses, including Anne Klein and Byblos. In 1997 he released a range of both mens and women's shoes, both of which won awards.

`Sex and the City' is the story of four close girl friends, living, working and loving in contemporary New York City. Clothing plays such an important role in the program that it is often referred to as the fifth character. Designers line up to get their clothing featured on the show, as programs such as `Sex and the City' are seen as the most influential and wide reaching medium for fashion, surpassing films and even fashion magazines.

This dress featured in the 2000 Season 3 finale episode, and was featured prominently in numerous articles and publicity surround the program, making this one of the most publicly recognised examples of Richard Tyler's work. Therefore the dress is an important addition to the Museum's collection of Melbourne designers.

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