Hi Anea! A question I've been wondering about: have the west end star princesses always been this weird, or did it start off looking like the costume design then suddenly went nuts and turned into the neon monster with the weird bodice it is now? :P
The West End Star Princess costumes used to be so nice. They had bell-shaped skirts with a strong ombre effect, petal-like bodice tabs, ornate beading, and of course gentler pastel colours. The silks and ruffles also dded a feather like look to it all. The dresses around 1998-2002 are some of my all-time favourites, in fact:
But around the time of Maria Bjørnson’s death (Dec. 2002) things started change. They pushed the colours to the max - apparently someone felt things needed to be more “vibrant” - and the skirts became more conical in shape. Eventually the beading was also changed, to glue-on hotstones instead of actual beads. This because the beading suffered during the lifts in Masquerade. Eventually the ruffles over the bust and puffed sleeves was also replaced by the stiffer “Elizabethan ruff” style.
Today the costumes may look the same at first glance. But at second glance you notice the silhouette is different, the colours bolder, the fabrics more “plastic” looking and the decorations stiffer and flatter:
So yeah, the West End dresses used to be very nice and not as N-E-O-N coloured as today. That change kicked in around 2003, and has only reinforced itself for every new costume made. I hope they eventually calm down on colours and start to add the softer, more detailed decorations again. It would bring the costume back to the “ballet tutu” style seen in the design, and also in many productions worldwide (including the US and Japan).