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Esmeralda's Green Dress; Costumes of Notre Dame de Paris

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Esmeralda's Green Dress

Esmeralda's main dress that she wears for the whole of Act I is typically a green floor-length A-line v-neck dress. It was designed Fred Sathal.

The basic elements of this costume is that it has asymmetrical bell sleeves, a slit and a jagged hem. The fabric has some form of treatment which is either a texture or print to get an added bit interest (either flowers or swirls).

She also can have some sparkle to make it stand out further.

However between all the casts, Esmeralda's Green costume is most divergent from the original dress and recently it has had a major redesign.

The original costume was designed by Fred Sathal and the 2016 redesign was designed by Caroline Van Assche.

The Original French Version

Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Helene Segara as Esmeralda

The Original Green Dress worn by Helene Segara is golden green with a swirl texture to the fabric.

Now I've never seen the costume live so I can't speak with 100% knowledge but judging from how it moves, I think it's velvet. It also appears to only be lined in the sleeve. This means that the texture was probably achieved by embossing the velvet. I'm not sure if was custom or just a rare find. My guess would it was a rare find as no other version has used this fabric since the original version of the costume.

As far as seams go, it looks like they were covered by rows of either gold bead or sequins that are sewed on individually. The seams are done in a patchwork manner which make the sheen of the velvet go in the opposite directions to add more interest to the costume.

There is slit on the side but it comes off of a seams and if you look really closely you can see a bunch at the top of the slit and this is where Esmeralda keeps her knife which is strap to her thigh. This Knife (circled) is not seen on the many other Esmeraldas.

I would have to say that this is my favorite of the Esmeralda costumes, it just looks so rich and pretty.

The Other French Cast Versions

French Esmeraldas

French Esmeraldas

Looking at some of the other French Esmeralda Green Dresses the fabric is quite different.

It looks like fabric is not velvet and it's a lighter weight. The texture is still there but it's more floral. The Fabric on Nadia Bel's 2005 Asian Tour Costume is the same fabric Sandrine wore in Belgium cast* Also the costume look like a straighter silhouette.

The slit of Asian Tour 2005 (Nadia Bel) bothers me, it looks like the just cut the fabric to create the slit which results in a curved slit. This kind of slit is the trend for most of the other dresses. This could be a way to communicate how much the character has worn the costume as it meant to be in tatters so the "slit" is meant to be more of a rip from years of dancing.

I have to say I prefer the original French dress.

*I think it's the same costume looking at the how the pattern alignment on the front seam, Click to see a side by side picture to see what I mean Also Anne Menson wore this dress which means it's from the 2001 production

Italian Version

Italian Esmeraldas

Italian Esmeraldas

Unlike the French Versions, The Italian version of the dress is consistent throughout the different casts and yet it's one of the more different variations of the costume.

First off, the fabric is green lace so the whole dress is lined in green fabric. Other than that all the original details are there for the most part except they are all exaggerated. The neckline is more open, the slit is more pronounced and goes up higher, the bell sleeve is longer, the patchwork detail is more apparent with darker green tones mixed with the lighter green and the trim is white stitching.

The darker tone looks like it was achieved by dying. The patchwork dyed detail is varied throughout the different casts but nothing really to nitpick on.

The edge of the slit also scalloped and not all the hems are jagged. The white stitching has some iridescent sequins mixed sewn in (at least it did on Lola Ponce's Costume). Lola Ponce can also be seen wearing a strap on her thigh, guess that was for the knife.

The Italian dress is very flowing and looks beautiful on stage (at least in the videos.)

Easily one of my favorite variations of this costume.

London Version

London Esmeralda

London Esmeralda

The Original London Esmeralda worn by Tina Arena, appears to either a dress with the same fabric as the original version or is the original costume. The London dress that Arena wore has curved slit and is shorter hem, though it could be the original french costume with some alterations.

Patti Russo's dress appears to have a curved slit and is slightly shorter hem too but it also looks like it had less fullness in the silhouette. I can't tell the fabric due lack of detailed pictures.

However Danni Minogue's dress has a more regular circular pattern and the bell sleeve is at a different angle.

Spanish Version

Spanish Esmeralda

Spanish Esmeralda

The Spanish Version seems to opted for a print over a texture. Instead it's a little more abstract of a pattern with different shades of green.

Like other costumes it opts for the curved slit and a short ankle length hem. For the trim detail, it seems to be a golden stitch which is a hybrid between the Italian and the French versions.

The fabric also appears to be a light to medium weight fabric too. It also looks lined.

Korean Version

Korean Esmeraldas

Korean Esmeraldas

The Korean version is the darkest of all the versions.

It appears to have a floral pattern and it looks like it been dyed in some way. The pattern as a bit of a texture so it's not a true print. The fabric also appears to be sheer in certain areas like in the sleeves and close to the hem line.

Like most of the other dresses this one has the curved slit albeit higher than most and the ankle hem.

The dress moves well and seems to be a light-weight fabric it doesn't the fullness of the original or the Italian version but it has more movement than other versions.

The trim looks to be long bead that look like stitching. This trim also adds to the patchwork detail without seams.

This version has to be one of my favorites, up there with original and the Italian versions. I just like how dark it is.

Russian Version

Russian Esmeraldas

Russian Esmeraldas

I can't seem to find any details pictures of the Russian version but here is what I do know.

It has a texture to the fabric. The color is dark green but lighter than the Korean version.

It seems to be lined and is slighter longer than other version as the hem hits at the top of the foot.

It has good movement. The trim details are the smallest of the versions.

I can't tell but the slit appears to be on the seam.

Las Vegas Version

Las Vegas Esmeraldas

Las Vegas Esmeraldas

The fabric on this version one look like a devore velvet. Devore is the result of a caustic solution that dissolves the velvet away and leaves the sheer fabric. If the costume is instead made with devore that means it has to be lined.

Much like the Spanish version, the swirl pattern is more abstract. It has gold stitching though I can't tell if it's gold thread or beads.

Like so many other costume has the curved slit.

Belgium Version

Belgium Esmeralda

Belgium Esmeralda

This version look to me like it's a jacquard with a floral pattern.

The detail trim is small. The costume appears to be unlined. The slit again is curved.

The hem hits the two actress at complete different points; on Sandrine it hits at her ankle and on Sasha Rosen at the top of her foot meaning that Sandrine is taller than Rosen, obvious reasoning, I know.

This costume also has the straighter silhouette.

This maybe a personal preference but I don't care for the texture/print on this version. It also the same fabric as the one Nadia Bel wore in the 2005 Asian Tour Cast. I think it's actually the same costume looking at the how the pattern alignment on the front seam.

Click to see a side by side picture to see what I mean

This dress that appears to have been worn by Sandrine and Bel could have been a promo dress because Rosen's dress is difference and Sandrine did seem to wear the same Dress as Rosen as well as the one wore by Bel.

Asian Tour Version

Asian Tour Esmeraldas

Asian Tour Esmeraldas

I'm not sure of this fabric but it looks to be a jacquard. It does a have a swirl pattern. It's slighter darker than other versions.

Again it has the straighter silhouette and the curved slit. The sleeves appeared to be lined and look more sharper in their angles. The trim detail is more minimal and the sequins are more spread out.

The hem is shorter side of the spectrum, it hits Candice Parise just above the ankle.

World Tour Version

Alessandra Ferrari as Esmeralda from the World Tour Cast of Notre Dame de Paris

Alessandra Ferrari as Esmeralda from the World Tour Cast of Notre Dame de Paris

The dress worn by Alessandra Ferrari in the World Tour Cast looks identical to the Asian Tour Dress.

It has the same fabric with its darker green color and swirl pattern. It has the same minimal gold details that spread out. The sleeves are pointed in the same manner and hem has the jagged peaks and still hits at the ankle.

It could be same dress or it just be a copy using the same pattern and fabric. However looking very closely at how the fabric is cut and aligned at the seam between the two it seems to me that it is the same dress that was used in the Asian Tour.

Korean French Anniversary Cast

Korean French Anniversary Cast Esmeraldas

Korean French Anniversary Cast Esmeraldas

The most noticeable aspect about this version of Esmeralda's costume is the shorter hemline. This is the shortest hemline seen in the show. It could be that they used the same costume from from another cast but given that Myriam Brousseau has been playing Esmeralda since the 2012 Asian Tour cast and it is much shorter on her it looks like a new version.

Speaking of Brousseau, the costume for her and lead Esmeralda, Stephanie Bedard, have two different costumes, which is standard. Bedard's costume has a circular pattern and Brousseau's is more floral.

Bebard also has more sequins and an angled hem while Brousseau's is more minimal with a straight hemline.


Esmeralda Costume Poll #2

Favorite Aspect

An Observation

Something that is getting more noticeable is the more recent versions (2012-2015) of the costumes is that fabric is lacking moment and the designer are opting to keep the fabric close to the body, which is a mistake. Esmeralda is a dancer so the fabric should move more plus it's better for the audience.

The audience can't see the pattern on the fabric but they can a swirl of fabric as she twirls. Though the original version didn't movie like Italian version, there is a weight to velvet that makes it sway is a nice manner that works for Esmeralda and the audiences' experience .

As much as love some versions of this costume, like the original French, Italian and the Korean versions, I think this costume needs a redesign.

And it turns out that the designers had similar thought because the costume has since changed.


2016 World Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda in the 2016 French Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda in the 2016 French Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Jay as Clopin in the 2016 French Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda and Jay as Clopin in the 2016 French Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda in the 2016 French Tour

Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda in the 2016 French Tour

Let me just preface by saying that I apologize for there not being a collage of this version like the other versions. Technicals issues.

The above text about the observation of the costume must have been in line with recent productions thoughts because the costume underwent a much needed update. Not only were Esmeralda's costumes updated by most notably Fleur de Lys' and Frollo's costumes were redesigned.

Esmeralda's new green costume has layers of lighter fabric to capture her moments on stage. The colors are all slightly different tones of green.

It has several asymmetrical over-layers. The layer are at her side and are strips of fabric and create a train-like effect. The performers also play with these strips to showcase playful. One starts at the neckline, another starts just under the bust and two more are at the sides of the hips. Under on of these strips on the front is a heavy sequin panel. The results is a flowing stripes is a silhouette that beautifully showcases the performers' movement and dancing ability.

The fabric does not have much a pattern to it but it has angled seams to provide a visual interest. There are some sequin details on the costume as well like the layer panel.

The signature high slit still remains. As well as the loose sleeves though the different lengths to the sleeves is less apparent in this version and they both look like bell sleeves.

All the hems are very purposefully frayed and torn to shown how much the character has worn this dress.

It's a very different interpretation of the her green costume that is very refreshing and it's quite lovely watch how it moves on stage.

Costume design by Caroline Van Assche.

Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Some Tips

No matter which version of Esmeralda costume you choose keep a few things in mind before you make it. If you're going the sewing pattern route be sure to focus on an A-line, Princess Seam with a V-neck. Those are the three thing you must find. The slit, sleeves, jagged hem can be added. I would say find a different pattern for the sleeve.

The right Fabric will pain to find, but given the trend in Esmeralda Costume I would say texture is most important, be it floral, swirls or circles. It this reason that I think the Italian version is the easy to get most accurate because lace is easy enough to find, though you may have to dye it.

The Perfect Fabric for Original Dress

Von Urban  Fabric

Von Urban Fabric

After some looking I found an embossed velvet that as the right swirl texture as the dress wore by Helene Segara, It's by Von Urban Fabric Studio.

Unfortunately it seems that they only have a eBay presence and it's rare that it is in green.

Of course there are way to customized the Velvet or paint the fabric if you have the time, the patience and the skill.

My Esmeralda Fabric Skirt Protion

My Esmeralda Fabric Skirt Protion

My Esmeralda Costume Attempt

My Tale of Costuming gone awry (it happens)

In 2010 I tried to make my version of this costume.. I wanted to go off the Original French version.

I searched the internet for the perfect fabric and I settled on a Velvet Devore that was in shades of green with a paisley print. It wasn't the perfect fabric but it was pretty so I went with it and lined it a light green fabric.

But due to some dumb moves (mainly fitting & altering) and time constraints, I never finished it. It's okay though the costume wouldn't have turned out as accurately as I would have liked.

Maybe I'll try again someday or try the Italian version. Though this fabric would be a great hybrid between the older patterned costume and the light fabric choice of the newer updated look.

Tell me what do you think of this Costume

anonymous on April 25, 2012:

Interesting article of dull and unattractive dress!

cdevries on March 27, 2012:

A fascinating costume comparison! I think costume designers would find this Lens interesting... to see how much difference subtle changes make. Squid Angel blessed.

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