CHRISTINE'S DRESSING GOWN



HISTORY
Probably the most well known costume from "Phantom of the Opera", as Christine wears it through some of the most epic scenes. This was my first "Phantom of the Opera" costume ever. I choose it for two reasons: first of all, it seemed less advanced that the others, being a wrapper. Second, as written above, it's probably the most known costume, and I *ADORE* the scenes where that costume is used... My intention was to use the original London gown as inspiration, with full skirt and a rose ribbon in the waist and on the sleeves. But on the way I got inspired by the Danish and Hamburg versions, and now only the cuffs bears traces of the original Brightman inspiration. Eventually the cuffs will be altered as well, so they'll be fuller and longer.





1. Wrapper from the 1860's (wish I had more reference for this)
2. Maria Bjørnson's design for Christine Daaé's dressing gown, 1986
3. Colby Thomas in Hamburg ca. 1991
4. Hanne Damm in Copenhagen ca. 2000
5. Sarah Brightman in West End 1986




FIRST VERSION
I have made four (sic!) versions of the dressing gown. the original is the one I still have, although I've altered it multiple times. Originally I wanted it to look like the one Sarah Brightman wore in London in 1986, with a full skirt, rose ribbon trims and straight cuffs. I've later remodeled it to resemble the general European version more. This includes making the skirt a tad more bell shaped, with a train in the back, and to add a more shaped belt too. I've added a ruffled trim all around the skirt, and later on I'll try to make the cuffs longer in the back than in front. The fabric used is a cool paisley jacquard with a nice drape, while I've used real lace for the cuffs and neck opening.





SECOND VERSION
The second version was two-layered and a disaster, and I gave it away before I finished it...





THIRD VERSION
The third version was made of a nice brocade with a white flower pattern, and with tiny golden details. It draped well and had a nice shine to it. I modeled it after the Danish versions of the dressing gown, with a pleated back, flared skirt and full lace decorations. The belt was nicely shaped and had a flower/pearl trim. I made this while I was in Minnesota, USA some years ago, as I went to the US right before Halloween without bringing a costume... Disasterous. But a trip to Hancock's Fabrics and 10 intensive hours fixed that... I sold that version on eBay when I came home, because I was so broke... I slightly regret that now, but I hope it has found a good home.





FOURTH VERSION
The fourth version is probably the one I'm most content with overall, and was a commision for an online friend called Selenity. Inspirations was a mixture of the Hamburg and US ones, again with a trained, bell-shaped skirt and ruffles along the hem. The back of the bodice got curved seams, like a Spencer jacket. The skirt was pleated in the back and narrower in front. The fabric used was a drapey brocade with shiny flower motifs, and a gorgeous rose lace was used for the cuffs. The ruffle was made of fine white chiffon, with a lace trim on one end, while the other end was lightly gathered and attached to the dressing gown hem. Selenity wore this dressing gown for Halloween the same year, and looked fantastic. I was very happy with it, and I'm glad she liked it too!







MATERIALS USED:
2 m. of white paisley patterned fabric (skirt + train)
2 m. of white paisley patterned fabric (bodice and belt)
3 m. of laces (bodice)
4 m. of laces (cuffs)
0,6 m. of sequenced ribbon (sleeves)
app. 1,5 m. of thin organza coming from a shawl
8 metres of thin, white lace to decorate the ruffle



MAKING OF MY FIRST DRESSING GOWN:

As a start I decided to search the web for information. As the "Wishing" dress, I had to study tons of pictures and decide which version I wanted to recreate. I choose the original London version, with a full skirt, almost (but not quite) transparent fabric, a tight fitted bodice and no laces on the skirt. But along the way I got inspired by the late Hamburg gown (see gallery) and the full-laced Danish version (also in the gallery), and last but not least Maria Bjørnson's costume sketch.

I begun my replica making with endless searches in all of Oslo's fabric shops (I believe finding the right fabrics and materials for a costume is half the job, and therefore I spend A LOT of time in fabric shops... That's my excuse anyway....). Beause of all the wonderful Pakistani and Indian shops in Oslo, it wasn't as difficult as I feared. And a bonus with these shops is that they are quite cheap compared to traditional stores. The fabric I choose, has a nice paisley like pattern, and it appears to be transparent. And it changes colour after what light it is displayed in. In sunset it's gets a pinkish hue, in candle lights it's warm cream, andnd in daylight it's blue. Very fascinating! In another store I found some wonderful laces in the same nuance as the fabric, and with a nice flower pattern.

My next project was to try to work out a pattern. I decided not to line the gown, as it is meant to be more like a morning shift or a dressing gown. And besides, I wanted it to fall loosely. I thought in the beginning that the stage version aren't lined either, but it appeared many of them are two layered.

The pattern was actually the most difficult task. I wanted the dress to be tight, but still loose fitted. There are lovely versions which looks very unfitted in the waist (Canadian and Australian), and they don't appeal to me as much as the well-fitted ones. The skirt was cut into three panels, a curved front panel, a straight front panel (going under the curved one) and a back panel with train. The back panel was also pleated in the waist. My first version of the skirt was made out of ONE panel, and that worked fine without train. But because I wanted a train, I had to re-do it a little. Then I started out making the sleeves. Here too I used the standard pattern for sleeves, making it slightly longer at the elbow. The laces was pleated directly on the sleeve, but it might be easier to wrinkle it BEFORE attaching. I sewed it on so that I got a nice frilled top, and I also attached a nice sequenced ribbon at the cuff. The bodice is made out of three pieces; one almost square piece in the back, and two bias cut front panels with one side going over the other. The laces were pleated directly on the bodice, and sewn on.



MY POTO COSTUME REPLICAS









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