photo butterfly_collagen_zpstgymwmsf.jpg

This charming costume is worn by one of the female dancers in Masquerade. The colours echoes the fantastic colours seen in the wings of insects and butterflys. The skirt is usually made of various shades of tulle in the base, with "half moon" shapes on top. The shape and colours of the top skirt is echoed in the scalloped wings.

The bodice has tabs flowing out over the skirt, and the front bodice has a dragonfly like motif. The shoulder have similar scallops as the bodice bottom, and hangs loose over the shoulders. But the most prominent feature of this costume is the wonderfully shaped wings. Made of thin, flowing materials, they are attached to the back and to the hands, making it look like the dancer is floating when moving. The dancer also wears green/pink tights with ombre effect and black dots or hearts at the sides, a purple/green/black headgear in the shape of an insect head, a black halfmask, either bloack or ombre gloves, and high heeled green shoes.

Butterflies, dragonflies and other pleasing winged creatures were popular for Victorian and Edwardian fancy dress costumes. One version can be seen in a French fancy dress costume from the early 20th century, the Papillon. That one depicts a butterfly, and has similar dragonfly decorations over the bust, as well as "wings" draped to the arms. But the main inspiration is a butterfly costume designed by renowned theatrical designer Charles William "Wilhelm" Pitcher (1858-1925). A figure from his design for "A Dream of Butterflies and Roses" from 1915 shows a winged figure whose pose and costume is near identical to the butterfly Maria Bjørnson designed for Masquerade. The original was discovered by Comtessedechagny on Tumblr.

The costume design specifies: "Butterfly. Most important Dancer "leads" chorus.

 photo papillonfrenchmasqueradesketch_zpsx8ixeii5.jpg  photo butterfly_wilhelm1915_zpstutpdfzu.jpg  photo butterfly_design1986_zpsawa7hwxi.jpg  photo butterfly_westendl1986_zps9wdswpj5.jpg  photo butterfly_saopaulo2005_zpsexa4k6e0.jpg  photo butterfly_madrid2002_zpsqeqknign.jpg  photo butterfly_lasvegas2006i_zpskgfjadui.jpg  photo butterfly_essen2006_zps28z3uxey.jpg  photo butterfly_copenhagen2009_zpsw0kfqoyz.jpg  photo butterfly_bway2014b_zpsfh5158ka.jpg  photo butterfly_copenhagen2000_zpstvgdqkpl.jpg  photo butterfly_lasvegas2006_back_zpsntqu2d2j.jpg

 photo butterfly_ustour2009_zpsjrg33lis.jpg  photo butterfly_westendclairetilling_zps8ukyunyh.jpg  photo butterfly_japan2012_zpsy2ahp32l.jpg  photo butterfly_moscow2014_zpsmaxr7tgv.jpg  photo butterfly_hamburg2015_mikinakamura_zpsn5fd2ire.jpg  photo butterfly_bway_daraadler_zps3eofists.jpg

 photo butterfly_essen2006_mask_zpsvcpkpv4n.jpg  photo butterfly_worldtour2012-13_marise_zpsrsqdocu5.jpeg  photo butterfly_southafrica2011_hat_zps2yapskz2.png  photo butterfly_worldtour2015suzyhalstead_zps3m77a4vm.png  photo butterfly_lasvegas2007_zps5fzpzpxm.jpg  photo butterfly_oberhausen2015_mask_zpstkrhqazu.jpg  photo butterfly_worldtour2014a_zpstedecmx6.jpg  photo butterfly_hamburg2015b_zpsyurvlpu5.jpg  photo butterfly_designtights1986_zpswxrztqib.jpg  photo butterfly_bway2011_abreymorgan_zpso9kfu7l6.jpg
 photo butterfly_worldtour2014c_zpsflacxh2c.jpg  photo butterfly_worldtour2014b_zpsfieydaf4.jpg  photo butterfly_buenosaires_lorenagallo_zpsibepjkfg.jpg  photo butterfly_westend2012_zpsevdkcazz.jpg