After about 30 years in the fancy dress business, Tony White names a certain Oxford Street parade as the spark for some of his most memorable creations.
We actually did all the wigs for the Clover Moore [Mardi Gras] parade [float], which was many years ago, White recalls.
We did the wigs for all of the Nana Mouskouris. And we’ve provided a range of various outfits that we’ve hired to people who have worn them on floats in Mardi Gras parades over the years.
White took over Wonderland -“ The Party Shop, then Motley Costume Hire, 30 years ago, moving it to Rosebery a few months back.
Now he is preparing to say goodbye to one of Sydney’s biggest costume hire stores in spectacular fashion. This weekend Wonderland will auction over 10,000 costumes, wigs, masks and hats at its Rosebery premises.
I think it’s come to a point where I don’t really want to do it any more, White says.
There’s always a little bit of sadness, but I guess you just become a realist and say, -˜It’s time to move on.’
Period dress and costumes inspired by Hollywood blockbusters will feature prominently at the auction, and White is expecting particular interest from the drag community as more than 1,000 wigs go under the hammer.
The auction is expected to raise between $200,000 and $400,000.
I’m expecting some people who have hired costumes in the past to try to come in and reclaim their original costumes, White says.
We’ve already had several requests along those lines.
The creations of Sydney millinery legend Jean Carroll, 83, will raise the sale’s camp factor.Carroll has been making hats professionally for nearly 70 years, collaborating with White for the past 11.
The milliner, who is up at 4:30am most days to make headwear for productions like The Boy From Oz, has also added to the Mardi Gras magic over the years.
There was one very good one I can remember one year where the chappie was sitting on top of the truck and I think he was Egyptian and he was wearing this beautiful Egyptian headdress that’s going to be auctioned off, Carroll says.
Wonderland auction lots are on view until the weekend at 675 Botany Rd, Rosebery. The auction is on at the same address on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August from 10am.