Esmeralda's White Costume
In the second act of Notre Dame de Paris, Esmeralda has been arrested for a crime she did not commit. She wears a second costume that signifies her status as a prisoner.
For a prisoner costume, its quite feminine. Unlike her green costume, her prisoner dress is less fabric specific which means its fairly consistent between the different casts and versions although there are some deviations.
For this page we'll look at the core components and the versions that differ between the versions of the show.
This costume isn't as iconic as Esmeralda's green dress so pictures are a bit limited.
Costume was design by Fred Sathal.
Notre Dame de Paris
The Silhouette is a straight sheath dress. Sheath dresses are elegant and simple in style but because the fabric is so close to the body there is little to no movement in this costume. Though the costume doesn't need movement unlike the green dress since Esmeralda does no dancing in the second act.
Though the silhouette offers no dynamic movement the details of the costumes, in some versions, do offer some minor details that move.
The fabric on this costume ranges from lightweight to medium weight. And the color ranges from off-white to taupe, although under some of the lighting it can look almost light pink.
The original French version seems to look taupe with a slight pinkish sheen. The Russian version has a two tone white gray fabric with sparkles. It looks almost like stained glass which is a nice hint as Esmeralda is allegory as Notre Dame. Though this dress could have been used for promotional purposes.
The fabric on all the versions has a beautiful drape.
The neckline is typically a slight cowl. A cowl neckline is a high loose turnover collar. The amount of drape to the neckline ranges from very heavy to very little.
The cowl neckline offer a soft detail that add to the overall impression of femininity and delicacy. The drape of the cowl is one of the elements that add some soft pretty movement.
Not all versions use the cowl neckline though. For instance the costume in the Belgium version has no cowl. Instead it’s opts for a v-neckline with a gather detail at the bust.
The sleeves are typically flutter sleeves. Flutter sleeves are loose fitting and gathered at the shoulders.
The sleeves for this costume are short flutter sleeves. Like the cowl neckline, the the sleeves ranges on the gathering ranges from a lot to practically none. However even if the costume has no gathering, the sleeves are still loose fitting.
When the sleeves are fluttered, they give the impression of movement during Esmeralda's numbers.
Ruffles are the main point of interest this costume. The ruffles are sewn in at odd angles on the lower section of the costume.
The length and fullness of the ruffles vary from version to version. For instance on the original costume they're fairly short but on the Asian tour costume they're longer. Also on some versions the upper ruffle doesn't wrap around the back but ends on the front. While other versions have the upper ruffle continue to the back. It's more of artistic decision how the version chose to handle this detail.
The ruffles are the most feminine aspect of this costume.
Personally this one my favorite details of this costume because it very unique and gives the costume a lot of visual interest.
The ruffles add a lot of femininity to this costume.
Despite the asymmetry of the ruffles and the overall feminine design of the costume the hemline is just straight across. It being straight directs the eye of the viewer to the ruffles.
The Decortive Seams
On the original French costume, there are three seams on the front that meet in a v shape. This isn’t seen on other versions but the middle seam is seen most notably on the Korean version and the Asian Tour version.
These seams just add a bit more visual interest though I would doubt the people going to the live show would really notice but it's a nice artistic touch.
The Italian Version
The Italian version of this costume is much more simple than any of the other versions. The cowl neckline is a simple v-neck. The sleeves have the same shape but lack the gathering of the flutter sleeves and there are no ruffles on the skirt portion.
The only difference between the different Italian casts is a slit but most versions do not have a slit.
This version make it clear that Esmeralda is a prisoner but instead of giving very a fragility it gives her a quite strength.
The World Tour Verions
The World Tour cast seems to have two versions of the prisoner costumes. One seems to be like the Italian version but with more of a cowl neckline.
And the other is like a hybrid of the standard design and the Italian. The upper part flairs out so it’s wider than the skirt portion creating an overlay almost like an asymmetrical peplum.
What is interesting is during the final song Dance My Esmeralda, three dancers are always dressed in the same prisoner costume as Esmeralda but in this cast, the dancers are wearing the standard ruffled costume and not the version that Esmeralda is wearing in this version. It’s just an interesting detail.
The "New" French Version aka The Hiba Tawaji version
The Newest version of Notre Dame de Paris in the French language began its run in 2016 and with it updates to the costumes.
At first glance this version emulates the simplicity of the Italian version with it minimal approach to the details. There is no cowl neckline, no fluttered sleeves and no ruffle. It does opt for a dramatic slit which gives the costume it's movement. It does have a similar seam detail in the bodice.
Where this version differs from every other version is the fabric. This fabric is heavily textured and looks rather heavy. Looks like a deep pile fabric so it's probably made from a cotton but that is just a guess. It looks a bit like a shag carpet.
This piled texture which gives an impression of burlap from afar and is rather clever because it giving the costume both softness and strength. It is also giving the appearance of the drape and ruffle details from the other versions while maintaining the simple construction.
It's also one the few and maybe only version that has some jagged angles in the hemline making it look worn.