With the new production in Paris of Notre Dame de Paris there has been updates to the costumes. These changes range from fairly minor to a near complete overall, though still in the spirit of the original designs. This also marks the first time the costumes have really been altered aside from minor variations in Esmeralda’s and Fleur-de-Lys’ costumes and of course the Italian version. So let’s start with Esmeralda’s main costume in the 2016/2017 production.
Helene Segara as Esmeralda from Notre Dame de Paris
It seems like the evolution of the costume has some full-circle in some ways. As you had the first generation of the green dress, which if you recall was made from a patterned velvet that was sewn to give it a patchworked look and sported asymmetrical sleeves. The caveat with costume is it didn’t move to showcase Esmeralda as a dancer. Though to be fair, the original production didn’t have Esmeralda dancing as much as subsequent versions.
Lola Ponce as Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris
Italian version has been the only version to really deviate from the original style. The Italian version uses a lighter fabric and the pattern is made from lace though it it keeps the patchwork like pattern. The silhouette was the same of the original.
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda
Now in 2016, the production seems to have gotten the movement memo and has created an Esmeralda costume that has the basic elements of the original and the movement of the Italian version but it’s all together very different.
Just a bit of background, I first saw this dress at like 2am one night after a few too many weird videos on youtube (more on that next week) and my powers of critical thinking were out. I had no idea how to feel about this new design and to be honest I still don’t. Parts of it I like and other parts I’m confused by.
To be clear this dress is lovely to watch. It’s prettier in motion and I do applaud the production the innovation in changing things up. I for one was getting tired of the newer versions of the costume, with the higher hems and less embellishments. They just didn’t look visually pleasing.
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda & Jay as Clopin
Ok, so the actual dress, there is A LOT going on with this costume. First it does hit all the basic components of the original with the color, neckline, basic silhouette, sleeves and slit. Thank you for getting the slit right, looks way better on an actual seam. Honestly, I’m not sure what the first you notice about this costume is but for me it was the pattern or lack of one. They just nixed the pattern or any attempt at mimicking one. There is a little ombre as it’s a darker green on the bodice and a lighter green on the bottom. The patchwork pattern is now done with seams along the bodice and speaking of these seams they do an interesting asymmetrical overlay over one breast. This fabric overlay starts over the breast on one side goes around the back and ends under the breast on the other side of the bodice. This overlay is where a lot of the costume’s movement comes from and where the sparkly embellishments live. Instead of having sequins or beads sewn on the dress this version has them in the overlay. I can’t really tell if it’s an insert or a lining. It also matches very closely do it’s harder to see. There also COULD be some sparkle elements on the dress itself but it hard to really tell. There is also ANOTHER overlay at the seam at her waist.
But wait, there is more. All the edges of the costume are very much ragged. This is of course done on purpose to make Esmeralda look more like she lives on the streets. Most of the other versions did this element to an extent but the 2016/2017 version has the edges look more frayed and distressed.
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda singing Vivre
Then there are the sleeves. There HAS to be two different versions of the costume because one has shorter, more distressed sleeves and the other has longer less distressed sleeves. The shorter one reaches, at the longest, mid upper arm, just above the elbow. The shorter version also has three layer of fabric. The longer one reaches just past her elbows with no layering. Another theory is that the sleeves were hemmed after the preview of the show as in the picture Esmeralda shouldn’t be wearing the green dress during Vivre.
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda
That really should bring us to the prisoner costume but I found so very little pictures of it so I will have to hold off on complaining about it but I what I can make out is it seems to have an A-line silhouette and looks to made of a lacey burlap.
Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda
I just find that bodice overlay really baffling from a design stand-point. It took me a while to figure it out and while in motion I understand it, in pictures it just looks weird and somewhat awkward. I guess it was a good compromise in adding movement while holding true to the original but it just a weird mix-bag for me. I don’t hate, I’m just not sure I like it. I really don’t know how to feel.
But what do you guys think of this costume? Like it? Hate it? No opinion? Like the disney costume better?