Labyrinth Jareth Study: Part 2.0

(Please let me know if you don’t see 11 photos.)
This post has given me grey hairs. The first time I posted this one, it disappeared. I spent scads of time on it, then…POOF. Finding the time again has been very difficult. Then, when I finished it a second time, it wouldn’t work either. Thank goodness the text was saved! This time, I found out that the problem is too many photos that are too big. We had to increase storage capacity and a few other things, including having to resize some photos. So, at full size, some photos make be smaller than they otherwise would be. I also rearranged photos, and will have fewer n this post than I was otherwise going to have, and the rest will be posted every day or two (the posts are already set to auto-post, so expect a new post on Monday at 1pm PST, Tuesday at the same time, etc.) in smaller posts that will hopefully not have any issue posting.

Monday: Lining
Tuesday: Cuffs
Wednesday and Thursday: Back and lapel details
Friday: Miscellaneous

Those are all already done and scheduled, and I’ll be biting my nails waiting to make sure they post without issue.

Expect this post to be something of an overview with more photos for each part in the coming days.   One day will be more photos of the lining, another will be cuffs, another of buttons, etc., which will also make it easier to find the specific part you’re looking for.

I was also planning to make this coat as part of making this post, but then had the brilliant idea (well, “brilliant”) to have it be a make-along.  I’m likely heading back to Paris at the end of this year, and, if I do, I plan to try tracking down more of the metallic velvet I got before.  If anyone is interested in that, it was €75 per meter, and sold in 3-meter lengths, and I charged the actual cost converted to US-dollars.  It’s not cheap, but it’s perfect.  I got some for myself as well as for one of my followers.  Once tickets are booked, for those who are interested, I would ask for a refundable-if-not-found deposit, and fabric would be distributed on a first-signed-up order.  I’m regretting not choking down the cost of a few more lengths, but I was already over my baggage weight limit.  Having me get the fabric wouldn’t be required to participate in this make-along.

So let’s start with the lining and the hem.  The lining is a simple silver lamé, and it’s serged with cream.  I’ll be honest–I don’t serge enough to know if that’s a 3-thread or 4-thread, though it looks like a 3-thread.  (I serge so rarely that I got a Baby Lock Imagine since it adjusts all the tensions automatically, and I suuuuuuuck at that part.). Click on any photos for larger versions.

The bottom of the coat looks like it’s been light-damaged.  Yes, light causes damage.  This is why flash-photography isn’t allowed.  The flash from one camera seems like it wouldn’t do anything, but over time, all those flashes add up.  But it does make the hem of the velvet easier to see as well, and it’s also serged, but with navy.  You can see in these photos that the backing is woven, not knit and the metallic fibers are also easier to see.  In Monday’s post, you will see some tulle that I suspect was used for display purposes.

Movin’ on up, we get to some buttons.  There appear to be already-made buttons, nothing custom, and that makes sense.  Unlike the broach, this isn’t a detail that will get much notice.  There are two in the back, and one in the front.  more on that in a bit.  In place of a coat vent, there are three pleats under each button, and this piece is cut separately.  In the first button photo, the seam is clearly visible.

Next up: Cuffs.  I really want to show more of these in this post, but am not wanting to come up against whatever limit on files there is.  So more photos will have to wait for the cuff page scheduled for Monday.  The bottom of the cuffs are gathered tulle with a gorgeous soft black lace.  It looks like silk, but no silk was used.  This Is probably rayon.  It’s too soft to be nylon.  All over this, following various parts of the design, is glued-on chunky black glitter and small black short bugle beads.  The beads are glued as well, but mixed in with the glitter and sprinkled on the glue.

The top of the cuffs are cut pieces of lace that wrap around, but don’t go around the back.  The method used on this lace will be shared in the section below about the back and lapels since it’s the same method.  Simple plastic buttons in shiny peacock colors are used.  The faceted mold is meant to look like crystal.

The third button is on the front.  Look below the cravat (as pointed out, it’s technically a jabot).  The coat covers left over right and closes at that button.  I’m going to speculate that the button is decorative and that it likely covers with concealed hooks and eyes.

The collar is a standing collar with a fold.

Now to the big part.  This is going to be a very quick overview since there are so many photos of this that I’d definitely hit the file cap.  On Wednesday and Thursday, these dozens of posts will be metered out.  Notice, at least quickly for now, that the sleeves are gathered in the caps, not tremendously so, but enough to help pad out the lace that falls over it.

The trick here is that hot glue is drizzled all over lace (it’ll stick better to the netting of lace than to velvet) with chunky black flutter, small sequins, small black faceted beads, opalescent round and oval beads, deep green and blue leads that look like broken pieces of glass (definitely aren’t, though!), 4mm faceted black beads, and shards of plastic beads that look like shattered mirror pieces scattered all over it.  Just go full ham on this.  You can’t overdo it.  No, the beads aren’t sewn.  Look at the shattered-mirror piece in this first photo.  You can see the hole, and there is nothing through it.   About halfway down, about two-thirds of the way to the right, is a black bead with a hole, and you can, again, see that there is no thread.  While the method is just about as cheap and quick as possible, it manages to work without looking cheap.  It’s perfectly Jareth, and reflects the concept of being shattered and broken, a sense of vulnerableness crossed with rocker glam.  To me, it feels like tis goblin king living a simple, yet complex existence, dug up whatever he could pull up in an attempt to seduce this young lady he’s fallen for.

Keep a watch here this next week for the rest of the posts.  As said, they are ready and waiting to auto-post.  I have the text all saved.  If there are any snafus, I’m ready to tackle them.

Jareth Ball ensemble: A costume study, pt. 1.5

Well!  I spent many, many hours searching for something: video showing Jareth without his ball coat on.  After I posted the costume study part 1, TWO people commented with it!  Like the Sarah study 2.5, this one isn’t a full study in its own, but rather an addition that is substantial enough to be a new post, but not enough to be a full part.

Angela is to thank for the gif to the right, and Glass Spider found the video below, which shows the gif starting a few seconds before it and going to a few seconds afterward.

So the cummerbund-vest thing is a cummerbund that closes in the back with suspenders.  The second photo shows that the front is a good few inches higher than the back.

These vides and photos confirm that the shirt closes in the front.  They also show some sleeve detail, such as the very narrow cuff at his wrist, and slight gathering at the top of the sleeve.  This next photo shows the top the best.  They stumbled down some stairs, and were laughing.

Thank you to Angela and Glass Spider!

Laura brought up a bit she found in a book that I actually have ordered, but is back-ordered until next week.  Since I had more time than anticipated after an appointment today, I managed to get to a bookstore in Portland that has it.  (On the best of days, it can take 20 minutes to find parking, but then add in a bunch of construction…yet I managed to find immediate parking and got around the construction.).  That book is called David Bowie: A Life, and it’s a book made up almost entirely of what those who have worked with him or who knew him had to say, as well as passages from David himself.

Said Brian Henson, son of the esteemed Jim Henson:

My dad was a little worried about the sexual connotations of the relationship between Jareth and Jennifer Connelly, but then that’s what the movie’s really about. I do know that David’s codpiece had to be reduced as it was far too large originally. The whole movie is about the aggressive phallus, as Jareth represents male sexuality.

Despite not being the review I read, this confirms the slight enhancement.

The next passage was by Steve Whitmire, a puppeteer on the film.

…I know there is some kind of online cult surrounding his “package,” and my understanding is that David as not altogether happy with his costume choice.  Regardless of whether or not he wanted to play a seductive character, I don’t think he was crazy about his leotard.  There are a couple of shots in the film that really focus on his groin, but they’re actually focusing on characters next to him, and it just looks that way.  They just happen to be only waist tall.

And, though this isn’t related to costuming, I thought it was interesting anyway.  It is all by Whitmire.

I know that his son, Duncan, wore in the creature department on that film, as a puppet builder.  He was there for a few years.

I had no idea that David Bowie’s son was into puppetry!  Toby Froud, son of costume designer Brian Froud and Toby, as in the babe whose got the power, is into puppetry and special effects, and is actually local to me now.  He works as LAIKA, which has produced films such as Coraline.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but Labyrinth makes me want to go into puppetry. My daughter and I having puppets who ensemble muppets doesn’t help matters. 🙂

Would anyone be interested in a pattern to make Ludo?  The original Ludo toy was at the exhibit, and I’ve been toying with the idea of making that as a pattern.

So long until next time!  I’ve got my work cut out for me in trying to convince my husband to let me make him into a Jareth model.

Jareth Ball ensemble: A costume study, pt. 1

So I had this done and posted once before, and then it disappeared.  Due to the time it takes to go though more photos than I care to think about, to find the best ones, and then to try to analyze it all, and how busy my schedule has been, I haven’t had the time to redo it.  But now?  Well.  I have a bit of time before me, and so here I am!  Skip the next section to get right to the study.

First, though, I had people on my Facebook page encourage me to start a Patreon page.  I hesitated a lot, and sought advice from several people.  See, to me, if feels like begging.  I can see now why some of my favorite YouTubers and bloggers hesitated so much, and mentioned it like they were pups with their tails between their legs.  (Awwwww, look at the cute Bowie doggy!)  I always thought it was completely fair that they start them.  They were spending their time and money creating stuff to give away for free.  But I’m a hypocrite since, when it comes to me, I’m not taking the advice I’d post to them to just do it.  But the reality is these studies cost a good deal of money.  I’m about $1,000 in for just these two Labyrinth ensembles, not including the time, and, rather than keeping this info to myself to try to lure in commissions, and giving it away which can actually cost me commissions on top of the money I’ve spent.  I took a daytrip to London (literally arrived in the morning from out of the country, left that evening back out of the country–border patrol was very curious about why an American was making such a fast trip to England) literally just because I found out a museum had a couple popular regency ensembles on display, and I thought those would make excellent studies.  Well, a Patreon really could help offset the costs, both cash out of pocket as well as the time these take, and enable me to do more of them and faster.  So I did it.  I started one.  Aria Couture is on Patreon.  There are different levels, including access to far more photos than make the cut for these studies, not only for these Labyrinth studies, but for all of them that I do.

This next part will only matter to those who are claiming my photos as their own: Stop trying to claim the rights to my photos.  I traveled a few hours away multiple times to get these photos, paid the cost of parking in downtown Seattle, and a hotel, because driving that round trip in a day is just exhausting.  So getting these photos wasn’t at all inexpensive.  I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing the construction the best I can, figuring out the ways that disclosed supplies were used (hot glue…?), and anything else I can about them.  Prior to my photos, there were no clear photos of either of these ensembles online, at all, and only one known full photo of the Sarah gown, which was a small, blurry photo in Labyrinth: The Photo Album.  Thus far, all I’ve asked in return is that I receive the credit for these photos I’ve taken.  So please, PLEASE work with me on this.  There’s absolutely nothing to be gained by trying to claim my photos as your own.  But there is a lot for all of us to lose.

– – – – – – –

Now, this is a study best broken down into at least four posts, one on the boots, trousers, shirt, and under-waistcoat, one on their recreation, one or two on the jacket, and one on the hair and makeup to complete the look.

Let us start with the easiest part: The boots.

The are patent poly vinyl, a very inexpensive material in the early 1980’s, and still inexpensive now.  Folks, the supplies used really were considered cheap at the time, and most are still fairly cheap now (hot glue…).  So, of course, this means that finding some of the supplies (Sarah’s ball gown fabric) is very difficult and costly.  Because of course it does.  For reasons.  That’s why.

(Really, it’s due to fabric stores collapsing into fewer, which means that they don’t need to compete with each other by having different fabrics at lower prices.  For instance, when Hancock’s closed, and left JoAnn Fabrics as the only dog in town in nearly every market they were both in, JoAnn Fabrics really don’t need to have a large variety or low prices to get local business.  Where else are shoppers going to go?  So this means that they’re going to carry less variety at some shockingly high prices that are still ridiculously high after coupons.  A lot of websites are also starting to stock the exact same fabrics because that’s what the mills are making.  As cheap fabrics rise in price due to the lack of competition, the nicer fabrics are bumped up as well.)

So back to the boots.  They could hardly be simpler, which…say it with me…of course means finding anything like them is difficult.  It doesn’t help that most boots now have zippers on the inside because consumers don’t like to use the energy to pull on fitter boots, or to actually have to tie them (and consumers write negative reviews about the rare pairs that don’t have zippers).  These are about as basic of a style as can be, just a cuffed pirate-style or Robin Hood-style boot.  Even then, a lot of those are more detailed.  These are the closest I’ve found, and even then, all of them would need some modifying.  Click on the pics to be taken to their listings:


The first pair, which is the most expensive and made of leather, doesn’t have a zipper.  Both of the other pairs do.  The second pair would need the cuff piece cut to be straight, and all of them need to be polished to a shine with a patent polish.  If the last pair was stiffer instead of slouching, and had no zipper, those would be the closest.  They have the same tongue detail in the front and everything.  The second would also be close, if they didn’t have the longer zipper and pointed cuff.  The first is nearly perfect, except that that pair lacks the tongue detail.

On to the trousers.  Let’s just get the giggling out of the way.  I try to keep this blog family friendly, but there is no getting around that crotch.  How many of us got our first inkings while watching this movie, and we didn’t understand it?  How many of us now still…oh, never mind.  *giggles*  Anyway, that’s not on accident.  Jareth’s mindless toying with some balls…  No, not at all on accident.  This movie overtly deals with sexual awakening.  Part of that is drawing attention to sexuality, and what better way than to highlight the genitalia of a major rock star?

There’s no way to avoid the subject.  Jareth’s pants are undeniably tight, undeniably revealing, and, at first glance, almost over the line for the garb of an adult male character in a film with a young teenaged heroine.  “We got in a bit of trouble about ow tight his pant were,” [Brian] Proud admits, “but the choice was deliberate.”

Within the contest of the film, Fraud explains, those pants are representative of that young innocent girls’s imagination.  “We’re not looking at reality.  We’re inside this girl’s head.  Jareth has the tight pants because he is many, many things that a teenaged girl related to.  He is a rock star.”

So, yes.  There’s just no way to be professional when talking about it.  I’m sorry, folks, I’m one of those who crushed on Bowie and couldn’t explain it at the time, and now my 8-year-old has a major crush on him and believes he is literally a god.

These high-waisted trousers, but really, we can call them leggings, are make of velour with some stretch to them.  That plays up The Bulge better than a woven-backed velvet.  As you can see, there isn’t a center seam.  Those are so uncomfortable and can create camel-toe.  Not so comfortable.  Or attractive.  The seams instead are from the waist, starting perhaps 12″ across, then heading down and following the groin.  This solid piece in the front both I framed by those seams and will smooth and mold better to highlight what’s underneath.  (No one knows how hard it is to write this post without laughing.)  I shall presume that the back has the standard single seam.  Though Bowie was said to be naturally endowed and in need of no help in that area (warning: those links should only be clicked by those who are okay with frank discussions of adult matters), some way was used of “enhancing” what what there.  I doubt this was built-in padding in the trousers, but more likely a dance belt with some sort of padding in that.  Since I can’t find what I think would be an acceptable image to post, you can see what a dance belt is on this page from Discount Dance.  If there was nudity, then that page wouldn’t show it.

I have spent an absurd number of hours trying to track down a video someone told me about that shows Jareth with his ball coat off, showing it to be a vest that is low cut in the front.

A leafy gold metallic brocade was used.  I thought it looked like a cummerbund because there is no closure in the front.  now, it’s possible that it’s got a full back that closes in the back, or my source may have been mistaken.  At this point, the construction would speculation since, in a good 20 hours of searching and watching videos and pouring through photos and stills, I haven’t been able to find anything to hint at either direction.  What’s for sure is that there is no front closure that would indicate a vest, though a vest cut still makes more sense than a cummerbund.

Now on to the shirt.  Once more, we are left to speculate on the closure.  It could be buttons or hooks under the ruffle, or closing somehow in the back.  The ruffle is full enough that it would easily close in the front, likely with hooks and eyes.  Much easier than dealing with buttons.  What we can see is the neck and those ruffles.

The fabric is silk.  The texture in the photo below looks like sueded/sanded silk charmeuse.  This is a glorious fabric.  Some sort of interlining is definitely used in the neck to be able to support that brooch.   The light dove silk, called silver in the Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History, is roll-hemmed with a medium grey thread.  The ruffle is made from a curved piece of fabric, not a single piece gathered down the middle.  The clue on this is how the ruffles lay in those folds.  The way that those wedge-shaped folds happen is for there to be more length at the edges than in the middle.  A standard gather would have as much fabric in the middle, which would impede the ability for the folds to lay forward.  The Sarah gown doesn’t use any unusual methods.  But this one?  Creative uses ahoy!  I don’t know if there’s really a name for the method of making this sort of ruffle.   This is something I will demonstrate in part 2 of this study.  That’s why I want to make this one along with just talking about it and showing photos.

The final piece of his ensemble, aside from his coat, is that brooch.  Unless polished regularly, I doubt it’s sterling silver.  It’s possible that it was polished before display, but that would be such a pain that I doubt it was done.  Just look at the lack of tarnish even inside the loops of chain.  The way the metal has aged looks like that nickel-free metal used in a lot of inexpensive jewelry findings.  Considering the complete lack of materials and supplies that would have had to be custom-made with special equipment rather than things that could possibly be found on the stash of typical seamstresses/tailors and jewelry-crafters, this was probably fabricated using whatever mass-produced jewelry findings could be found.  The dangles to the sides are on pieces of craft chain with black teardrops, possibly plastic, and the piece down the center is similar to vintage pieces of costume jewelry that I’ve seen, but broken in half, with black cabochons glued on.  The top part of the pendant has lost a couple of them.  The glue has even yellowed over time.  A cabochon on each side is missing.  There should be four, as show in the gif below.  The faceted jewel in the center is almost certainly plastic.  There’s a larger one farther down.  The facets are quite large and too perfect to be cheap glass, which are almost always irregularly cut, but don’t have enough shine to them to be glass or crystal.  Glass is cut, with lower quality being done too quickly to be perfect, but plastic is molded.

That’s something I love about these ensembles.  Cellophane, hot glue, chunky glitter…these beautiful creations were made out of standard craft supplies, and that’s so freaking cool and creative and inspiring and shows that the humblest, most-accessible things can be used to make things that people will still be drooling over over three decades later.

If there’s anything here that isn’t too clear, please comment below to let me know, and I’ll make sure to cover that in part 2 of this study.

Sarah Study Pt. 1
Sarah Study Pt. 2
Sarah Study Pt. 2.5


Sarah’s Labyrinth Ball Gown: A Costume Study Pt. 2.5

This isn’t really a full post, but it’s worth mentioning.  While double-checking on a quote in a book I have, I found this:
Thirty years on, Connelly still remembers the dress she wore: a billowing silver-white ball gown of iridescent fabric, with puffed sleeves a silver lace bodice, and a pannier, or hooped petticoat, beneath the skirt. “It was so elaborate,” she says. “And it was made of such unusual fabric. I thin there may have been some cellophane in it.”
“We made her dress out of silver lamé and iridescent rainbow paper, overlaid with lace and jewels on the bodice,” recalls Ellis Flyte. “We had costume breakdowns and a color chart on every character, and in this scene, her silver and mint color pallet se her apart from the others in the ballroom. Lovely young Jennifer suddenly was a beaitoul princess. Her hair was dressed jeweled glue particles. It all took a great deal of work, but she did look otherworldly!”
“Oh, that enormous hair!” Connelly gasps today. “Who can forget that?” The hairdressers opted not to give her an elegant updo; instead they wove delicate tendrils of silver through her dark hair, like enchanted spiderwebs.
This is from Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.  It’s a beautiful book.  I paid the full $45 for it, and don’t regret it.  If you want to buy it on Amazon, here’s my affiliate link to it (and you an read other reviews) where I’ll get about three cents, but it’s really worth going down to your local Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, or what-have-you, and coughing up $45 for both this book as well as to help keep brick-and-mortar stores from going the way of the dodo.
Anyhoo!  I thought that piece is something interesting enough to bring here.  Back to finalizing post numero uno in the Jareth set!

Part 2: Sarah’s Labyrinth Ball Gown: A Costume Study

NEW HI-RES PHOTOS and updated information! Click on any photo to see a ton more detail.  The photos shown here are large, and will get much larger (thousands x thousands for the resolutions) when clicked.

As promised, I returned to MoPop with my real camera instead of my iPhone camera.  I already gave a good deal of information in the first post on this gown.  So this post will be mostly photographic, with commentary on new information or things to pay extra attention to beneath some photos.  Some shots will be close to the same, but sometimes a lightly different angle shows something just differently enough for it to be clearer.  I’ll upload more of these photos to this Facebook album today, though the resolution might get squished.

This one shows the necklace very well.  Through studying the beadwork, I was able to determine that I was incorrect on the neckline missing trim.  Let’s look back at the gown on Sarah:
She has a yellow flower on her right shoulder, but there isn’t one on the right shoulder on the mannequin. BUT! Through studying the beading and lace pattern, I was able to see that this photo of Sarah has been flipped. So that flower isn’t missing. It’s on the mannequin’s left shoulder, and In the film itself, it is also shown on her left.


If you look hard, on the left sleeve you can just barely tell that there’s a larger opaque poof just at the top. It looks like a floating ball of pink. Below that is cellophane with a lace overlay.


Starting just under the big shiny spot toward the top right by the right sleeve, you can juuuuuust past out the beginning of the front bodice seam.


The ground of the lace is in a diamond pattern.


The back of the necklace is seed beads on wire with a basic spring clasp and a chain hanging down the back.


The bottom edge of the bodice is piped.


The neckline of the bodice is piped. You can also see how the lace is pieced on and stitched down rather than being a solid piece of shaped lace. If you look closely at the left arm, you can see the shadow of its outline.


The bodice closes with what appears to be ten hooks and eyes.


The fullness of the sleeves is concentrated toward the top.



In the following pictures, pay special attention to the edges of the lace.  Two types were used, an eyelash lace for the front half, and a different lace in the lack.

This photo shows the two types of lace. This is from the back on the right side. The lace father away, which looks to be our left, is the eyelash, while the lace on the right that comes back toward the camera, isn’t.


The edge of cellophane!


The piecing on the skirt edge is easy to see here.


Check out the zig-zag edge.


Here is that repair I mentioned in the last post.


I was incorrect about the lace last time. It looks irregularly crinkled, but upon closer look, it looks like the organza was pulled and pulled until the fibers were all pulled out of shape.


A pretty decent view of the front lace pattern.



I hope these additional photos are of some help to some of you!  I’m already sourcing fabrics for a couple inquiries as my schedule allows me too, and my daughter wants one as well.  Because of course she does.  She loves fancy things.  Like mother, like daughter. 🙂

Up soon…Jareth! Subscribe to get notified of the one.  It’s a few weeks out yet.  My commissions schedule is too busy for me to start breaking that one down!

Sarah’s Labyrinth Ball Gown: A Costume Study Pt. 1

UPDATE: NEW clearer photos taken with the Canon camera I forgot the first time I went with NEW information (like how it closes, and how the lace is done, as well as where some of the bodice seams definitely are under the lace).  You can find those new photos and some updated information on this news page!


On Monday, during a Girl Scout meeting (during a time when the girls were doing an activity we adults couldn’t help with), I saw that the ball ensembles from Labyrinth were in Seattle, and I screamed and freaked out my troop.  But…Labyrinth!  And since there are stunningly few photos available showing Sarah’s ball gown in any detail, I knew I had to go.  So on Tuesday, after our ballet classes, my daughter and I started the 6-hour drive (stopped for the night after an hour and a half, then the next morning, we hit rush hours traffic through several cities, including Tacoma as well as Seattle, though the return drive was a mere 4.5 hours) drive up to the Museum of Pop Culture.  One membership purchase later…

All photos open larger when clicked.

And these weren’t the only ensembles of the day.  Stay tuned for Princess Buttercup’s wedding gown from The Princess Bride, and Dorothy from Wizard of Oz (yes, this has been done before, but I got information I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere), among others!  Subscribe to this blog at the bottom of any page to get notifications when those go up  I will also do a separate study on Jareth’s ball ensemble.  This study will stay focused on Sarah’s gown.

If you need a refresher, take a couple minutes and enjoy this video.

I suspect that designers Brian Froud (father of Toby Froud, who played the baby in the movie quite by accident) and Ellis Flyte had a lot of fun with these pieces.  I’ll save a bit of trivia about Jareth’s ensemble for the study on his at a later time.

To start, how about a couple videos I took?

Spoiler alert: You can skip all the text and go right to this Facebook album I set up for this gown to look at pictures, but surely you wouldn’t want to skip reading all this information. 🙂

Photo 2

Let’s begin this discussion with the skirt.  Not including the pannier under it, this skirt is six layers.  The bottom layer-sandwich is a lining of cotton muslin with an iridescent layer that looks like yellow-tinted cellophane (certainly not the iridescent fabric we can fine easier today), with a layer of soft white, almost a very soft dove grey, and silver lace.  The cellophane is scalloped at the bottom.  Each scallop is about 4″ wide.  The lace is a synthetic fiber, and also has a scalloped edge.  For the 80’s, back when everything was higher quality, this was a cheap lace.  These days, it’s a higher quality lace.  How ironic.

Photo 3

The top layer-sandwich is similar.  It’s backed with muslin, and the cellophane is the sort that is pinkish green.  In photo 2, you can see that the two cellophane layers are different shades.  This cellophane is scalloped at the bottom, but I couldn’t see the edges in the lifted part to tell if it’s also scalloped, or cut straighter there.  The pinkish cellophane is topped with a fabric I haven’t seen since the 80’s, and haven’t been able to track down yet.  It’s not quite a crinkled organza, more puckered similar to seersucker, but in wider, irregular stripes, and it has silver threads running through it.  I’m not even sure if this exact fabric is even made anymore, though I do recall having a dress made with it when I was a kid.

Photo 4

An interesting thing I noticed is that on the far sides, additional stripes are added at the very bottom, about 3″ at most, and tapering down.  At first I saw it only on the right side, but upon closer looking for quire a while, I was able to make out the extension on the other side.  I speculate that the reason for this is that the fabric, which was used lengthwise around the gown instead of in panels, wasn’t wide enough to go from the waist, over the panniers, and to the floor, or wherever they decided to hem it (could have been ankle length, I don’t know since I don’t know Jennifer Connolly’s height).  Had those sides been left shorter, it would have been noticed, and shortening the entire gown 3″ would have been noticed.  The extensions are sewn on with zigzag stitching.  In photo 4, you can see a darker line from the right side that angles down.  This is one of the extensions.  In my first video, at 44 seconds in, I point it our clearer, and for the one on the right, it’s at 2:19 on my second video.

The hemming on the muslin and topmost layer are just zigzag-stitched, which is very, very, very, surprisingly common on film gowns.  It’s not like viewers are going to see the hem or inside seams, and rarely do these gowns have to last for months on end, of not years, the way Broadway and opera gowns need to.  I doubt anyone noticed the repair to the hem in the back, and I’m going to include people who go to see this gown in person.  Even in person, these small details are only going to be noticed by people who are looking for them.  Like me, and the people who are interested enough in this gown to find this post about it.

Photo 5

The fabric in both front and back are gathered in deep Kingussie pleats, 11 to each side.  The best way to describe these pleats, since this type isn’t often called that, is knife-pleating where the edges all point one way on one half, and the other way on the other half.  On this gown, the pleats on each half point toward the center, either back center or front center.  They aren’t very regular in width that can be seen, and that’s likely due to the fabric being pulled over those panniers, and then gathered on the left in front, further pulling on the fabric.  I highly doubt that the creators of this gown would have just gone willy nilly on those pleats.

Photo 6

The top layer is hitched up at the left hip, with the bottom 6″ or so left to drape down.  The decoration acting as a clasp is very unusual and almost rough for a gown as ethereal as this one.  It looks like large beads and those glass stones used in fish tanks gathered in fine gold netting, and is something I’d expect to see on a mermaid gown. If you click on photo 6 to make it larger, you can see a bit better than the gold mesh is just a mishmash of beads and glass stones.  It’s interesting, but seems out of place to me.  I’m guessing this is to represent gems and such mined from the earth by goblins.  That’s certainly why I used real pearls on the Goblin Queen gown that my daughter and I created.

Photo 7

Now to the bodice.  Oh, where to begin with this one.  The sleeves.  These giant fluff balls are a combination of the pinkish cellophane from the top layer-sandwich of the skirt and the lace used on top of the bottom layer sandwich.  They are so perfectly balloon-like that it’s easy to think that there are balloons in them!  However, they didn’t use balloons.  I’m sorry to burst any dreams of balloons in sleeves.  What was done instead was to make a very full and stuffed short sleeve as an inner sleeve, and a big huge puff outer sleeve consisting of the cellophane and lace for the puff, with a fitted lower sleeve (I hope it was lined with cotton, but can’t be sure).  When sewn together and to the bodice, the stuffed short sleeve supports the outer sleeve.  Believe it or not, this was a common sleeve method using sheer fabric for the outer sleeve during the Romantic era of the 1830’s!

Photo 8

A few more details to note:

The bulk of the gathering is kept to the top of each sleeve.  This gives the effect of the sleeves being ready to fall off of Sarah, yet are supported enough to still puff hugely.

The right sleeve has a frill of tulle.  The left one didn’t, but that could have been lost.  The sleeve lace was tucked upward in the center, and the frill inserted into that.  This was then sewn to the bottom of the inner sleeve.

Also, if you look in photo 8, you can see added lace at each sleeve cuff.  This lace is silver, and the only other place I saw lace this silver was at the neckline and waist, which I will cover momentarily.

Photo 9

The bodice itself, which is definitely boned according to the plaque accompanying the ensembles, appears to have seven panels and has princess seams in front and back with seams at the side.  These panels were really hard to see on the gown in person, though slightly easier to see in photos.  I searched for seams in the lace, but found none.  So what must have been used is a couture method of shaping lace to conceal seams.  How this is done is by assembling the rest of the shell, in this case, more of the pinkish cellophane, and at least one supporting layer, which could be cotton muslin or something more substantial to handle the boning that was used on this gown, and taking a large piece of lace over the front.  In areas that need to be shaped, carefully cut along motifs where needed, lay and manipulate flat, pin, and baste into place.  Do this on all the areas needing to be shaped.  If need be, add more lace and conceal the joins the same way.  When all basted and smooth, hand-sew the edges down.  You shouldn’t see lace seams at all now.

Yes, that’s time-consuming, and yes, the margin of error is high, and yes, this requires top-notch hand-sewing skills to be able to sew invisibly, and yes, this requires being extremely flexible and being willing to work with unexpected behaviors in lace.  This is why it’s a couture method and so often skipped in favor of visible seams and calling it part of the design.  There’s nothing wrong with visible seams when they’re genuinely desired (and sometimes they are, especially for bodices we want to have the visual appeal of a corset), but for when a magical fit with lace is desired, enter lace-shaping!

Photo 10

The bottom of the bodice has 1/8″ piping with the lace over cellophane, and, though not visible, that had to have had some of the muslin lining it.  Making piping of cellophane and lace alone is asking for it to tear.  The back closure can’t be determined with any certainty.  It looked to be hooked-and-eyed.  However, it’s not unusual for actresses to be sewn into their gowns.  Just recently, Lily James was confirmed as having been sewn into her blue ballgown as Cinderella.  So either of those are possibilities for this gown.  Definitely no buttons and definitely no zipper.

As for adornments, there are very few.  Motifs of silver lace are applied over the neckline in front and back, as well as some around the bottom of the waist, which is pointed in back as well as front.

Photo 11

Speaking of the front, getting clear photos of the beading just wasn’t happening, no matter how hard or how often I tried.  I suppose it’s some consolation that the studio headshot of Jennifer Connolly, which are clear enough to show individual strands of hair, couldn’t photograph it clearly either.

There’s a single large plastic gem front and center, with some rocaille bugle beads, but as for what the yellow is, I couldn’t tell in person, and still can’t tell.  At times they look like silk ribbon, and at other times, yellow beads.  I hate to have to take a wild guess on something I got to see in person, but I think that the yellow on top and bottom (refer back to photo 6) are a combination of silk flowers and crystal, with a few pearl beads scattered in.  The yellow in photo 11 looks very bright, but that entire photo has been lightened.  It’s much softer in person, much lower contrast.

Photo 12

The neckline has a couple asymmetrical details, only one of which is still present on the gown.  The ruffle on the left shoulder (right side when viewing it straight on in photo 11) is still there, and it’s more lace.  The detail on the other shoulder has disappeared.  Photo 12, which is a screenshot from one of my video, lacks it.  But photo 11 shows a single shabby yellow that appears to be made of feathers, with a small fall of some sort, possibly other feathers.  Something I learned at the exhibit is how much Jim Henson and his crew, including Brian Froud, loved to use feathers.  This was so, so incredibly amazing to get to learn through personal observation of Fraggle puppets and several there iconic pieces.   So if I had to wager on that flower, it would be feathers.

More photos will be posted to this Facebook album.  I will be heading back to the museum rather shortly as my husband wants to see the indie video game exhibit (and it’s just plain an amazing museum).  If there are other details you want to see that I didn’t capture, or there are any questions, please let me know and I will be glad to try to find out the answers for you!

Post-Beauty and the Beast costuming thoughts

Hands down, the background characters’ costumes are stunning, as are the servants’ human costumes.  Madame Garderobe’s blue gown even has scallop-pinked trimming!  So much silk and damask and happy-sigh-worthy perfection.

Beast and Gaston... Until I get my hands on some photos of the opening scene to better analyze the prince’s costume (the ladies are pure rococo), I can’t say much on that, but otherwise, everything I said still stands with nothing else needing to be added aside from some speculation about Gaston.  Gaston was called Captain, and he was a war veteran.  This detail is actually put into his chamois leather coat.  Chamois leather was used primarily for hunting and military.  So this could potentially be a military coat.

Let’s see if we can figure out which war he fought in without giving away a plot point. The men’s costumes are very, very 1750-1760, though this movie couldn’t have taken place that late.  (I’m not going to nitpick being a couple decades off though, especially if the exact year wasn’t specified to the costumer and Emma, who wouldn’t have cared anyway.) We have a better indication of the era though, and that indication comes from the movie by a specific event that really happened.

The event that we see Maurice fleeing with Baby Belle took place in 1720-1722 (this event is a running theme through the movie). The traumatized captain hopefully wasn’t a captain in any war around 1720, but Emma appears to be about 25. So this movie is in the area of 1740. War of the Polish Succession happened in 1733-1738. War of the Austrian Succession was 1740-1748. He wouldn’t have been to that one and back unless Emma is supposed to be playing a 30-year-old-or-older Belle. The Quadruple Alliance ended in 1720.  So I suppose he was a veteran of the Polish Succession.

Emma’s costumes…

What I thought was one of her provincial ensembles wasn’t something that appeared together on screen.  She wore the white floral apron at the castle, but not with the pockets or that particular bodice.  She wore a blue and blue cross-over with that skirt and apron.  There’s a peek of the rest just visible in this.  So this display had some mixed up pieces.  Despite the inaccuracies, both of these ensembles still work well for invoking the era.

The yellow gown has the same problems I noted on its study page, with one new one.

There’s nothing transformative. Her makeup looks the same, her hair is down, but not different otherwise. She looks like she tossed on a yellow dress, and that’s it. A garment can change how a person carries themselves.  She looks like, “Here I am, in a long dress.”  She doesn’t elevate the dress, and the dress doesn’t elevate her.  Something I’ve observed in my own daughter is when she’s in one of her ultra-fancy dresses, her carriage changes, as does her demeanor.  Many people have noticed this.  She’s not even aware she does it, but she goes from running around like a loon to holding her head higher and acting regal.  That’s what a truly regal gown can do.  It can affect how you feel about yourself, and that will show.  
That yellow gown didn’t have that affect.  It’s Emma in a yellow dress.  Meanwhile, in the animated version, our hot-headed, yet introverted Belle who sometimes doubted herself on screen transformed into this giddy young woman in her gown. She fluffed up the skirt to show herself off, preened a bit, and she displayed an increase in confidence and joy.  That Belle absolutely blossomed in that moment.  Our rose had fully bloomed.  We saw nothing of the sort with Emma’s version.

Now, it can be argued that the glitter is okay because the pattern was lifted from the floor and ceiling, as I’ve seen a few people mention, except for a couple things.

First, the floor and ceiling weren’t glitter.  In reality, the gold would have been gold leafing, which is thin sheets of real gold.  In that era, and for a couple centuries afterward, fine strands of precious metals were woven into fabrics, and embroidered into fabrics.  (Until just a handful of decades ago, lamé was made from thin ribbons of real gold or silver, and would tarnish.)  It would have made more sense to have that gold leafing weave/embroider itself into the fabric. As it stand, as I said in my earlier post, the paint and glitter isn’t substantial enough, as embroidery would have been.  This is actually from the movie:

Second, this gown’s “wow” factor is entirely in it’s spin-factor.

That can only last for so long though.  We saw this gown for a remarkably short period of time during this scene.  The cameras kept panning to the sets.  The animated film did this too, but a a chance to show off some of the brand-new CGI abilities they were able to use in animating the ballroom.  Watching a gown spin will only stay interesting for so long, especially when it lacks sparkle.  Despite the glitter, this gown really didn’t sparkle much.  It had some shine at times, but it lacked depth and substance.

It pains me to pick apart this gown when the overall design of it is my personal style (remember, I made myself a gown using almost the exact same skirt styling, just with four layers and without the waterfall effect in the back, which I joked should be made in yellow for Belle), but that doesn’t change my mind about the glitter and paint in place of embroidery (no, embroidery wouldn’t be too heavy as heavier embroidery didn’t, in any way, affect the floppiness and lightness of my “Emma” gown).  It’s just does not have enough substance, and makes the gown look plainer and flatter than it should.

I’m not sure why the “celebration” gown was made to be 21st century modern when we really didn’t see that much of it.  What we did still looks to be modern garden party.  Shorten it to tea length, and it would be a perfect version of a 50’s-style dress to wear to a garden party or for Easter today.  Again, it’s a dress I personally love, but, again, it just doesn’t fit the character or the time, and if Jacqueline Durran thinks that the yellow dress “works against [being a modern, strong Belle] in a sense of being a pretty, princess-y kind of dress,” then I’m not sure how a pretty, peachy pink flowery princess-y kind of dress is more feminist (though I’m not sure at all how a dress can be called feminist or not if a person gets to freely choose their own personal clothing).

I’m going to close this post with a couple photos of my daughter in gowns I made her inspired by parts of the rococo era, as Tiny Marie Antoinette when she was three years old (later 18th century), and as Rococo Cinderella when she was four years old (more fantasy-based mid 18th century)…