anonymous asked:

Am I imagining things or are the wedding dress sleeves uneven (longer on back/side area?), especially in the US productions? If so, is it a historical detail?

The lace seen on the sleeves of most of Carlotta’s and Christine’s costumes are called engageantes. It began as lace decorations on the shift in the 16th and 17th century, and by the 18th century it had became a separate lace decoration that could be basted or pinned to the dress, under the sleeve flounce:

These were almost always longer in the back and shorter in front. This is for practical reasons - shorter lace in front means it won’t get in your tea or on your letter or whatever practical thing you’re doing. In use it would look something like what’s seen in this portrait:

But this is 18th century fashion, you say? That’s correct. But this and similar styles were revived in the mid/late 19th century, in what’s known as “historicism”. Styles of the past were revived and reused, with gothic marvels, antique temples and rococo furniture. Palais Garnier is a good example, being built in a Neo-Baroque style. The same applied for fashion, where styles from all historical eras were revived or served as inspiration in different ways.

Haute Couture king Charles Frederick Worth was one of the pioneers here in the 1870s and 1880s. Here’s a wedding dress from 1874, showing similar engageantes as the 18th century dress:

And this is the style Maria Bjørnson designed “Phantom of the Opera” in - the historicism style, where there’s lots of historical references and inspirations. Most productions makes the engageantes longer in the back than in front, as it was done historically:

But I’ve also seen examples where the lace is just overhwelming and more or less the same length all round:

(both examples are from Japan, though the wedding dress is an elder one, while the dressing gown is a newer one)

Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford (1756). Joshua Reynolds (English, 1723-1792). Oil on canvas. 

Gertrude was the daughter of John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower and Lady Evelyn Pierrepont. As a result of her marriage, Hon. Gertrude Leveson-Gower was styled as Duchess of Bedford. Duchess Gertrude, an open book in her lap, wears a classic mid-1700s Lady’s day dress with square neckline, bows on the bodice, lace engageantes, and ruched panels on her skirt.

Random progress pic. Been working many hours on the collar and faux vest pieces and decorations.  Progress has been slow due to hand-sewing the appliqués; I originally thought I’d machine sew them, but the velvet on velvet was too slippery and they really needed hand-sewn.  Added a lot more hours but I think it’s turning out great :)  I’ve also been spending time on sewing snaps & closures at the front.

Next up is sleeve work & hem work. I already have the pleated cuffs created, as well as the velvet pieces that go on top, and appliqués sewn on them… but they need all the layers of trim, and the engageante lace - which I’m waiting to arrive in the mail.  I’ll also be working on the trimmings that go on the hem of the bodice.  I never realized how much trim is on this version until studying it closer!!  Love it.

The silver/blue trim was custom made because we couldn’t find anything remotely similar to the original.  It looks a lot cooler in real life, my phone camera doesn’t do it justice and makes the color look wonky.  Blame my poor basement lighting!!  There are three trims that go along the bodice hem and on the sleeves: a layer of the white trim (seen on the collar), layer of blue velvet ribbon (just arrived in the mail!), another layer of white, and then the intricate light blue looped-trim with tassels.  

We couldn’t find anything similar to the tassel trim, so I’m going to custom-make that too.  I’ll be dying white looped fringe home decor trim to the shade of blue I need, and sewing tiny tassels on.  Taking a closer peek at some reference photos, I’m almost convinced that the real deal might also add tassels on to a more basic trim.  I could be wrong, but it looks very custom to me!

More evidence of my theory is that some wishing gowns have the same, or similar looped trim, but different tassel arrangements…

 Tiered version

 A plainer arrangement

Because I can’t sew on the white & velvet trims until I stitch on the home decor trim, I have to wait until I dye the trim.  (These trims need to cover the top of the looped fringe trim, which is about ¾" wide.  You can see in the reference photos that you just sort of see the looped part).  I just got some proper dye tonight so that’ll be my next step.  The tassels can be sewn on at any point, so I don’t have to wait for those (they just got ordered today, so it’ll be a week or two before I get them).

And if you guys know me, I freaking love tassels; I am like a cat.  Fascinated by them.  And the mini ones are going to be so cute.  It took a while to find them online!  Only one seller had something remotely similar to what I needed.  But anyhow, tassels make everything cooler.  So I’m excited about that!


Dressing Gown #10

Modeled after Sierra’s version in the RAH 25th anniversary gala, it features a bodice, belt, and skirt made of jacquard silk.  The ruffles (and engageantes) are double-layered: a soft netting layer with scalloped trim underneath, and a cotton eyelet with a wider scalloped venice lace trim on top.  The front and back of the belt are decorated with lush appliques filled with sequins and pearls.  It also features custom bias tape around the bodice opening and an extended train on the skirt.

I want to thank Emily from the bottom of my heart for commissioning me and helping support what I love to do!

Want your own dressing gown or other custom replica, costume, clothing or accessory? Visit kaedralynn.com and see what I can do, and contact me there! :)

A few in-progress photos coming soon ;)


The good, the neutral and the bad: Christine’s maid/Serafimo costume

This too is a category where there aren’t really any stinkers. “Il Muto” is a scene most productions handle well. Possibly because it is familiar opera/rococo terrain? Basically all productions to a combo of an ambiguous blouse/shirt and/or vest with breeches under a rip-off-skirt. All versions make sense; some are really good, and a lot of them are good ideas but maybe with some not-so-well solutions in execution. So here goes:

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southerncalcosette  asked:

Which Christine costumes had the most love/care/devotion put into them, which have the most detail etc.? I've noticed the Spanish productions seem to take a lot of time to make their costumes super well!

(This post is really long so I apologize if the read more doesn’t work for those of you on mobile)

So in terms of love/care/devotion, details, tailoring and and faithfulness to the essence of the original design is important. 

Hands down, for me it will always be the US costumes. I’m biased because I worked in the shop and I spent half the time getting lectured on precision and the importance of tracing every line, cutting every seal and laying every trim JUST so. And it’s one of the first things I thought of when I read “care and devotion” in the question because it was just INSANE watching the way those things were built up from muslin bases. And I look at the US costumes and it’s just… so much thought was clearly put into them. Something as simple as the engageantes going from high to low (and being so damn fluffy while they’re at it):

As opposed to this, because this just looks really weird:

The costumes are at their best when they are in fact custom tailored to the actress, and hand me downs are generally pretty meh because we end up with things like sleeves that are too short, and baggy or blocky fitting bodices.

But WHEN they are custom made, MAN US costumes get my vote for best tailoring, hands down. 

It’s not even just the details, it’s the fact that they go above and BEYOND, I mean just LOOK at the way the flounce extends from the center of the bodice all around the hips. No other production bothers with that, most of them just attach the first flounce to the waist and call it a day. I’m also of course head over heels in love with the ornate detailing on the angel chestplate:

Then there’s the fact that you know I think the US Wedding gowns are freaking diamonds. Whereas a lot of versions of the wedding gown tend to be sparse in the lace on the skirt or sparse in the bodice decorations, the US ones strike a perfect balance between both portions and it’s made incredible ornate by that silver lace (hence DIAMONDS).

Sometimes I wish the Wishing gowns didn’t look like they had so many “straight lines”, which is the look the blue ribbon trim all around the gown can give when seen from the back of the theatre, but look at how gorgeous these backdrapes and panniers are:

Ungathered panniers bug the crap out of me. They hang straight and look weird:

I could go on but I feel like people are already rolling my eyes at me gushing about the US costumes yet again hehe.

BUT for the sake of fairness, I’m gonna talk about other productions too!

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As requested: Undersleeves! (Part I)

Undersleeves were worn…well, underneath the sleeves of a dress and went from about wrist to elbow.  Also known as engageantes, these sleeves emphasized a woman’s modesty and could be removed or changed.  Usually white or off-white, the sleeves used either ties to attach to the gown or were kept on by an early form of elastic in the top casing.  They were a necessary part of the mid-19th century wardrobe.

First image from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, remaining images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.