When millions tuned into Neighbors in 1987 to watch Charlene and Scott’s wedding, it was dubbed the greatest soapie nuptial of all time.
- 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 going back into safe storage
Kylie Minogue, who played Charlene, was less than a month away from releasing her debut number one single, Locomotion, but her on-air marriage with Scott, played by Jason Donovan, was an international event in itself.
To mark the moment’s 35-year anniversary — and the end of Neighbors after 37 years — the Cinderella-inspired dress worn by Minogue is about to go on display for the first time in 20 years at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), Hobart.
“It’s really important to me that TMAG offers a broad program, and sometimes that means just doing something fun,” TMAG’s Melissa Edwards said.
The silk, organza and lace gown is kept safely in a box in the dark at the museum, where it has been held since 1989.
It has twice been sent to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, twice to the United Kingdom, and it has featured at a wedding show in Melbourne, making it one of the most borrowed items from the museum.
The Neighbors wedding scene, which featured Angry Anderson’s song, Suddenly, will be projected onto a wall at the dress display.
How did it end up in 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 record famous people or events.
“The dress was a perfect choice really and we were very lucky,” he said.
A proactive volunteer at the museum approached Grundy Television about donating the dress.
Expecting the request to be declined, the museum was pleasantly surprised by Grundy’s decision to make the donation.
“That’s not something they’d normally do. I’m told they’d normally auction surplus costumes,” Mr Hughes said.
“They put it in a big padded post bag and shipped it down.”
A romantic design
The wedding dress project was later canceled due to the huge logistics involved in storing all the dresses, and the fact that wedding dresses were often traditional and did not actually reflect the fashion of the time.
Except, of course, for Charlene’s dress.
“If you think about Lady Diana’s wedding as well, it influenced wedding fashions quite a lot.”
The dress was made by Jocelyn Creed in a wedding boutique near the Neighbors studio.
Ms Creed had experience in theater costumes and had worked on outfits for the television variety show, Young Talent Time, and the Australian film, Evil Angels.
Preserving the dress
Mr Hughes said the dress had recently been thoroughly cleaned and mounted permanently to form a better preserve it.
“It lives in a box with tissue and is kept in the dark,” he said.
Visitors to the museum will be able to view the dress in a special dark room.
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 received it.
Veil, shoes and gloves missing
It is not known where the shoes, veil and gloves are, and Mr Hughes said the museum would be interested in completing the set.
“If they could be found and guaranteed to be the ones that went with the dress, then absolutely,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a shame.”
A replica of Scott and Charlene’s wedding cake is held by Museums Victoria and was on show between 2000 and 2007.
The museum will run a special ticketed event on Friday July 1 called Scott and Charlene’s Wedding Reception, and ABC Radio Hobart’s Your Afternoon program will broadcast live from the museum from 1:30pm to 4pm.
The dress will go back into a box after the public display finishes on July 31.
“It’ll be going for a long rest after this,” Mr Hughes said.
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