Stage Costumes vs. Movie Costumes
The leading lady of The Phantom of the Opera, Christine Daae has plethora of lovely costumes on the Stage and on the Screen.
The Costumes were designed by Maria Bjornson (stage) and Alexandra Byrne (movie).
Both the stage version and the movie version have costumes that are very similar to each other while other are quite very different. But what production has the better costumes for Miss Daae?
It's a subjective question but let's compare the costumes side-by-side to come with a conclusion. It will be probably be bias because opinions are not facts, so enjoy the costume discourse.
Hannibal Slave Girl
When we first meet Christine she is wearing a slave girl costume during the dress rehearsal for the newest opera, Hannibal. Both versions of this costume are revealing but in different ways.
In the stage show the costume has a plunging neckline and rope skirt. Velvet panels make up the bodice and gold cording covers the seams. There is a lot of beaded elements around the neckline and around the shoulders. She also wears a crown.
In the movie, the costume has an exposed midriff. It has a floral print on the bodice. The neckline and waistband appear be made out of leather with some metal details. The skirt is made from a lightweight fabric. The partial nudity of the costume represents her vulnerability her talent being exposed and being singled out to save the show that night.
I think the movie version looks more like a slave girl but I think the stage version is the better costume for an opera. The movie version is too sedate for an opera costume and lacks the movement that a dancers' costume needs to show off the dancer's grace of movement.
Point For the stage version.
Elissa, Think of Me
During the Hannibal rehearsals, Carlotta, the opera's Diva, quits and Christine takes her place. Midway through the song in the stage show Christine's slave costume transforms in the leading lady's costume. The show does this by removing the rope skirt and switches it for a grander large skirt that has heavily patterned fabric, heavy embroidery and gold tassels
The movie doesn't have the limitation of real time and a live audience so movie version is completely different. In the movie the costume goes from a Minoan slave girl to Empress Elizabeth of Austria from the Winterhalter portrait.
As lovely as it, and it really is very beautiful, it's really out of place in terms of the context. Make you wonder what the movie version of Hannibal is about and what is going on with this character in the opera.
According to the FIDM exhibit brochure, "The influence for Christine's white gown came from the famous Winterhalter painting of Empress Elizabeth of Austria wearing a Worth & Bobergh ballgown covered with stars."
Had there a some context for this costume design it could have worked since it's a beautiful costume but the movie has to make us question things about the show within a show and stuff like that takes a person out the movie.
While both dresses are lovely I think the Stage Show is better in terms of context.
White Dressing Gown
After Christine's triumphant debut she wears a white dressing gown with ruffles. This dressing gown is worn during the show's most memorable moments; Going through the Mirror, The Phantom of the Opera, Music of the Night, and The first unmasking.
In the Stage Show, Christine wears a long white robe with long sleeves. It has lots of ruffles at the neckline, cuffs, hem, and along the opening. The Hannibal corset is worn under the dressing gown which adds a pop of color.
In the movie Christine's "dressing gown" is more like lingerie. It consists of a sheer dress with high slit, a white corset, and white robe with ruffles and pink sequins.
While I do like the movie costume, it doesn't work within the scope of the story. In the stage version, after Christine's debut, Raoul comes to see her and invites her to dinner. Immediately after Raoul leaves the room the Phantom makes his presence known and lures Christine through the mirror.
In the movie between Raoul's invitation and the Phantom's appearance, Christine changes into this costume. I will also point out that during this period of Christine's changing the opera goes from having a sea of people in it to a ghost town.
It would have made more sense to either have her go down to the Phantom's lair in her Think of Me dress, or have her change into a dress for dinner, or if she was in this costume prior to Raoul's entrance. The Phantom's arrival loses impact if it took him 20 minutes or so for him to react to Raoul's Dinner invitation.
I think the idea was the film makers wanted the scene to be dark with a sense of foreboding preluding the Phantom's entrance but it comes at the cost of pacing.
It has been suggested that the corset she is wearing with the dressing gown is the corset she is wearing with her Think of Me dress which if that were the case would work in context with the pacing. However the lace on the neckline on this corset would be visible if wore with the Think of Dress. So it's a different corset.
Aesthetically and context wise I think the Stage Show costume is better.
In the opera Il Muto, Christine plays a mute page who crossdresses to fool the Count.
It's a simple costume which consists of a shirt and breaches. There is not much to this costume but I think I like the movie version better, it's a little bit more fun and colorful. It also seems like it in keeping with the aesthetic of Il Muto.
Point for the movie version.
All I Ask of You
During Il Muto, the Phantom demands Christine plays the lead role of the Countess. Before she can take the stage panic ensues as the Phantom murders Buquet, a stagehand. Christine and Raoul rush to the roof for a safety. She tries to tell Raoul about the Phantom and her growing fear but he tries to comfort her with his love. They then profess their love to each other.
In the Stage show, Christine changes into a 18th century gown and wears blue cloak with ruffles.
The movie version she doesn't finish changing and she is in a corset with pink details, a pink skirt and red velvet cloak. It is sexier than its stage counterpart.
These costumes are on opposite sides on the spectrum; the stage version is more opulent and the movie version is simple yet sexy. Honestly I think both are great, but I lean more toward the movie version. The simplicity of the costume helps convey the intimacy of the scene as well as Christine's emotional fragility. It also has a little red riding hood connotation of she being stalked by something dangerous.
Point for the movie version.
Masquerade occurs during a costume party at the beginning of Act 2.
In the stage show, Christine's costume is a "Star Princess." It softy fades from pink to blue and has lots of star details, off-shoulder ruffle sleeves, a shorter hem and a crown.
In the movie, Christine dresses up like herself, maybe? She dresses in a pink gown with a bustle and the dress has ruffles and flower details.
I'm not sure why she's exempt from wearing a costume at a costume party. And why is she exempt from the color scheme of the party which is White Black and Gold?
Again this dress doesn't work within the context of the story. There are theories that the color reflects Christine becoming tainted by the Phantom.
It's a pretty dress but it's not a costume for a Masquerade. Though who knows given all the flowers on her dress maybe an hour before she left for the party she just put a ton of flowers in her dress and claimed she was a flower. Makes sense given the odd costume choices in the film.
Point for the stage show.
Wishing you were Somehow Here Again
In stage show Christine wears a more "casual" dress for a few sequences (Notes Twisted Every way, Wishing you were Somehow Here Again and Wondering Child.)
It's a blue dress with a floral print, ruffles at the cuffs, a bustle and an apron detail. She wears the dress under a blue cape with a red scarf for Wishing you were Somehow Here Again and Wondering Child. This costume is the only costume that Christine wears that could be describe at everyday attire.
In the movie, Notes gets split so it occurs right after Masquerade and follows Wondering Child. Christine wears a white Blouse with a black bustle skirt for Twisted Every way, which is hard to get a decent picture from the movie since it's barley visible.
During Wishing you were Somehow Here Again and Wondering Child, Christine wears a black dress with a plunging neckline with lace details. She wears a black cape with a maroon chiffon scarf wore over her head and around her neck. I suppose the idea behind the costume is that it's a mourning dress. However Christine just pull this dress off a rack in the opera so it's unclear if it's a costume owned by the opera or her own garment. Either way the dress lacks the fine details of its stage counterpart and looks like a stab of black on screen. Based on the context of the story I'd say that stage version is the better costume.
Aminta, Point of no Return
Aminta is the character that Christine plays in the Phantom's opera, Don Juan Triumphant. She wears this costume during the The Point of no Return and briefly during the Final Lair.
In the stage show, Christine wear a dress that is Flamenco inspired with a 17th century flair. It has a ton of details like layers of ruffles, lace, beads, embroidery, a shawl etc. It's a very extravagant costume.
Conversely, the movie version is simpler and more seductive. Christine is dressed like a stereotypical Romani. She wears a lace chemise, flower details, dark red floral corset with bead trim along the hem, a skirt with ruffle detail , a red rose in her hair and gold bracelet completes the look.
I like both looks and despite being so different they do have a similar vibe. I think they both work within the context of the story but I have a soft spot for the stage version but the movie costume grows on me more every time I see it.
This is a hard one as they just so different and preform different functions for the mediums. Tie!
The wedding dress is a gown that Phantom made for Christine. Both dresses features diagonal elements. I
n the stage show it's the ruffles on the skirt and an overlay draped is at an angle in the movie. However beyond that the dresses are different.
The stage show has a lots of lace and ruffle details, a wide waistband, a sweetheart neckline neckline, 3/4 sleeves, buttons, and a bustle. It's a very opulent dress and a great dress to end the show.
The movie dress has the same spirit as the one from the stage show. The dress features an off shoulder neckline with short sleeves. The bodice is identical to the Think of Me dress.
It has an asymmetrical overlay on the front and drapes around the side and covers the skirt which has ruffles much like the stage show. It's not as opulent as the stage version but it's still lovely even if doesn't the same wow factor. Despite that, I prefer it over the stage version, I like its subtly. Point for the movie.
While do find the movie's costumes to be lovely many of them don't work within the context of the over-all story and compared to the stage show and they lack the same grandeur not that a costume needs to be grand to be beautiful but it helps when the majority of the costumes are themselves costume for fictitious opera in a musical.
I think that the Stage Show has the superior costumes, But what do you think?
Easy Christine Trivia Quiz
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Who designed the Costumes from the 2004 Movie version?
- Colleen Atwood
- Jenny Beaven
- Sandy Powell
- Alexandra Byrne
- Ngila Dickson
- Who originally played Christine Daae in the Musical?
- Sarah Brightman
- Rebecca Caine
- Sierra Boggess
- Marni Raab
- Anna O'Byrne
- What is Christine's first song?
- Phantom of the Opera
- Think of Me
- Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
- Music of the Night
- Little Lotte
- Where was Christine born?
- In the Stage show, which costume's of Christine is casual everyday attire?
- Think of Me
- Il Muto
- Notes/Wishing you were some how ever again
- The Point of No Return
- Final Liar
- Alexandra Byrne
- Sarah Brightman
- Think of Me
- Notes/Wishing you were some how ever again
More Christine Daae Costumes
- Love Never Dies Costumes
This page looks at the different costumes that Christine Daae wears in two different versions of Love Never Dies.
What Costume of Christine's is your favorite?
Em on April 21, 2020:
I personally think the stage show was amazing, especially the one with Seirra Boggesss. It was beautifully executed and even though I sometimes couldn’t hear the lyric (I watched the 25th anniversary stream) I knew exactly what was happening. The ending had me in tears. Seriously a jaw dropping show. The costumes made sense as well. An opera is usually more dramatic than a basic stage show, so all the costumes made perfect sense.
And a lot of people are confused about the dress, “The star princess.” I agree, it looks like it belongs in the 80s, which is perfect. The movie looked more like a fancy ball rather than a MASQUERADE PARTY. The Start Princess’s has a far future theme which is perfectly placed. The colors were vibrant because Christine has to stand out, she’s the main character.
And I think that the stage Il Muto Page Boy costume is also superior. (I know, unpopular opinion) I feel this way because the scene is like a dark time in Daae’s life. She needed the lead or she could be at risk to The Phantom’s outbursts. Cross dressing probably wasn’t the most popular thing during the movie’s time period, which means Daae chose to wear darker clothes in order to “hide herself”. I understand her main character is a female, but it was considered a joke to society to essentially be transgender. Which may be why she wears dark clothes as well, to play her inner masculinity.
Another unpopular opinion: The movie wedding dress was just a mess. I know, the gowns are meant to be beautiful, and the movie dress was great, but less cleavage. (I’m not saying this to be child friendly, I’m saying it because it isn’t the best, less cleavage and a more fitting neckline but she can have some cleavage, i have no idea what I’m saying, you get my point.) The hair would have been better if it wasn’t so poufy. It would look more fitting if it was more longways instead of sideways. And the stage show, wow, it was breathtaking as well. As we are speaking on terms of improvement, maybe adding a necklace or a choker would add to her otherwise bare neck. And maybe a hairpin (like a flower that subtly hints to the movie masquerade dress) but yeah, that’s all I got
I’m not trying to hate if people come at me. I’m just stating my opinion. I personally think that in it’s whole, the stage show is better. I’m sorry if I bother you by saying that. Anyways I’ve talked for forever.
Enjoy the rest of the comments! :)
Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on July 03, 2018:
RiverCygnet, I loved your comparison of the stage and film versions of "Phantom of the Opera. It's one of the funnest hubs I've seen. You had me involved from the start. I was swayed by most of your persuasion. Often I made my mind up by studying the photographs before reading what you had to say about them. I have only one suggestion. Regarding the white dressing gown, that is the only category I didn't vote. I think a better choice is to post a full view of the gown for the movie version. We only see half the dress. But I loved your article!
Hildy Gloom on March 26, 2015:
while the stage costumes are lovely the stage show itself is just one big mess
while the movie is perfect and that's a fact!
Hildy Gloom on March 26, 2015:
the movie is better in every way i have many problems with the stage show!
michael on November 24, 2014:
the wishing dress is so pretty and the stage production just plain rules.
anonymous on April 30, 2013:
The stage production. It is more historically accurate in terms of what would have been used and worn in the last nineteenth century, so the outfits were not created or sex appeal as was the movie version (because goodness forbid accuracy is actually present in a Hollywood production). As for he dressing gown, or robe, Christine just arrived back to her dressing room and barely had time to change into an entirely new garment as would be suggested by the movie; she tells Meg about her lovely Angel of Music and almost immediately Raoul comes in, invites her to dinner, and leaves. The Phantom knowing and seeing this steps into action to bring Christine to his lair before she has the chance to reunite with Raoul a bit later. Even with help, it would not make sense in terms of the time frame given within the script especially if Christine, having the Angel of Music be in that room previous nights, knew he would appear and wanted everyone out within such a short time frame to be alone even if people questioned her.
The stage productions' "Masquerade" is an actual Masquerade as opposed to the movie which is more of a grand ball than anything; the movie scene destroyed the essence any Masquerade should have; think about Halloween and the atmosphere that creates when people dress up and head out for trick-or-treating and other events.
anonymous on April 11, 2013:
I love the movie costumes the best cuz they scream "creative" and they also catch the idea of the true story. the don juan triumphant dress from the 2004 movie is my all time favorite dress!
anonymous on January 31, 2013:
I think the movie definitely had better costumes, if nothing else because they weren't stuck in the 1980s. I never got "star princess" from the stage Masquerade outfit, but got "flower" immediately from the movie. Plus, Carlotta explicitly says about the Elissa dress "Because I have not my costume for Act 3 because somebody not finish it!" which is why the costume doesn't fit the theme: it was something they had backstage and just threw on Christine. Christine was changing out of her costume into a new outfit to go out with Raoul during Angel of Music: she wouldn't want to wear the same corset, it would be sweaty and gross from the stage lights.
anonymous on October 06, 2012:
My favorite costume is from the 2004 movie version. I also prefer the movie over the play because i feel like i could sink right into it and feel as the characters do but in the play all i could think about is the excitement of it all instead of the true meaning of the phantom of the opera. my favorite costume in when christine is on the roof singing about her love. it's a simple dress yet still as elegant and beautiful with the red cape
anonymous on July 22, 2012:
Both versions has gorgeous, elegant costumes, but my favorites include 2004 Christines dress for the first lair visit, her costume for All I ask of you and gypsy dress in Point of no return. However, my all-time favorite is Carlottas fabulous Spanish dress for the stage version!