Kylie Minogue’s wedding dress as Charlene in Neighbors will be on display in Tasmania

When millions tuned into Neighbors in 1987 to watch Charlene and Scott’s wedding, it was dubbed the greatest soapie wedding of all time.

Kylie Minogue, who played Charlene, was less than a month away from releasing her first number one single, Locomotion, but her on-air wedding to Scott, played by Jason Donovan, was an international event in itself.

To mark the moment’s 35th anniversary – and the end of Neighbors after 37 years – the Cinderella-inspired dress worn by Minogue is set 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 has a broad program, and sometimes that just means doing something fun,” said TMAG’s Melissa Edwards.

The dress has been at TMAG since 1989, when it was donated by Grundy Television.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

The silk, organza and lace dress is safely kept in a box in the dark at the museum, where it has been kept since 1989.

It’s been sent twice to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, twice to the UK, and it’s been shown at a wedding fair in Melbourne, making it one of the museum’s most borrowed items.

The scene from the neighbors’ wedding, which featured Angry Anderson’s song Suddenly, will be projected onto a wall during the dress display.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan pose for a wedding photo dressed as their neighbors' characters
The TV event is often dubbed the greatest soapie wedding of all time.(PAA/Network 10)

How did he end up in Tasmania?

The museum wanted to collect 100 wedding dresses from the 20th century to preserve social history.

a back wedding dress, it has lace and pearls
The dress is made of silk, organza and lace.(Provided: Museum and Art Gallery of Tasmania)

Senior Curator Peter Hughes said the idea for the collection was to reflect fashions as they changed and to record famous people or events.

“The dress was really a perfect choice and we were very lucky,” he said.

A proactive museum volunteer approached Grundy Television to donate the dress.

Expecting the request to be denied, the museum was pleasantly surprised by Grundy’s decision to make the donation.

“It’s not something they would normally do. I was told they normally auction off surplus costumes,” Mr Hughes said.

“They put it in a big padded mailbag and shipped it.”

a man and a woman are smiling at the camera, a vintage wedding dress is in the background on a form
TMAG’s Peter Hughes and Melissa Edwards are thrilled to show off the dress.(ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

A romantic design

The wedding dress project was later canceled due to the enormous logistics involved in storing all the dresses and the fact that wedding dresses were often traditional and did not really reflect the fashion of the time.

Except, of course, for Charlene’s dress.

“If you also think of Lady Diana’s wedding, that was a big influence on bridal fashion.”

The dress was made by Jocelyn Creed at a bridal boutique near the Neighbors studio.

Ms Creed had experience in theatrical costumes and had worked on outfits for the television variety show Young Talent Time and the Australian film Evil Angels.

A hand puts a ring on a finger at a wedding.
Millions of people watched Scott and Charlene get married in 1987.(Supplied: Network 10)

keep the dress

Mr Hughes said the dress had recently been carefully cleaned and permanently fitted to a form to better preserve it.

“He lives in a box with tissues and is kept in the dark,” he said.

Museum visitors will be able to view the dress in a special darkened room.

Mr Hughes said the dress had only been modeled by one other person since Kylie Minogue wore the dress.

This happened in 1989 when the museum received it.

Kylie Minogue in the Neighbors wedding scene.
The fate of Charlene’s veil, shoes and gloves remains unknown.(Supplied: Network 10)

Veil, shoes and gloves missing

The whereabouts of the shoes, veil and gloves are unknown, 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 is kind of a shame.”

A replica of Scott and Charlene’s wedding cake is held by Museums Victoria and was on display between 2000 and 2007.

The museum will be hosting a special paid event on Friday July 1 called Scott and Charlene’s Wedding Reception, and ABC Radio Hobart’s Your Afternoon will be broadcast live from the museum from 1:30-4pm.

The dress will return to a box after the end of public display on July 31.

“It’ll be fine for a long rest after that,” Mr Hughes said.

Kylie Minogue in the Neighbors wedding scene.
The famous dress will be put away after July 31.(Supplied: Network 10)

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