WARDROBE MISTRESS


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Sometimes mistaken for another Madame Giry design, but the Wardrobe Mistress is another character from the opening of "Phantom of the Opera". She first appears at the Hannibal rehearsal, where she's trying to get Carlotta's grand Elissa gala costume ready while Carlotta is rehearsing - quite an impossible task. She is also the one helping Christine change from her Elissa gala costume and into the dressing gown, in Christine's dressing room. Her last appearance is at curtain call at the end of the show.

The original design shows a braided hair similar to that of Madame Giry, but maybe due to the uncanny likeness of Giry she now usually wears a curly red or greyish red wig. Her dress consists of a bodice and skirt. The bodice is tight-fitting, and has a draped front area framed by embroidered trims, as well as a high collar. The embroidered trim is repeated in the waistband. The skirt is quite plain compared to the grand bustle dresses of the show, as is proper for a hard-working woman. There are embroidered trims at the hem matching those of the bodice, and there's also a small draped apron in front, with a leather purse hanging down over it. The lower sleeves are ballooning, and is made of the same fabric as the draped front bust. There's often a needle holder on one of the arms.

This costume was highly inspired by a "By the sea" ensemble included in a reprint of dress plates from Harper's Bazar 1867-1898. An edition from 1974 used that illustration in blue on the cover, and inside it also contains several which were used as a basis for the Don Juan Rehearsal ladies and the Hannibal princesses. Bjørnson might have had a copy of the 1974 edition when working on the Phantom design some 12 years later. At any case, the original West End costume was blue, like the dress on the book cover.


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