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"...watching us watching them....."

The costume has elements of spiders - the skirt is basically a big cobweb - and bats (the winged tiara and mask). The colours are concentrated on black, silver and dark purple. The big mystery is... What is Carlotta supposed to illude in this costume? There are plenty of theories, and all of them are excellent. Let me present some of them.

1. "Queen of the Night". Not merely in terms of the character in Mozart's opera, but as a general allegory over night and the night creatures. This often calls for a use of stars and moons, but as that was already taken for Christine's costume, it isn't present in Carlotta's dress. This weakens the QOTN allegorism a bit.

2. It can also be a general "night" or "negative" costume, opposed to the vibrant and hopeful costume of Christine. As seen in the costume design for a female demon (taken from, the general features for a costume of an underworld creature is there - dark colours, wings in the back, wings on the head, kneelength skirt etc.

The answer to what designer Maria Bjørnson intended is quite humoristic, though. She based Carlotta's Masquerade costume on the 19th century dancer Lola Montez and her famous "Spider dance". The concept of the dance was that the lady found spiders all over her clothes, and had to shred the garbs off, one by one... Basically, an advanced strip tease dance with elements from both classical ballet and flamenco. So there! The original design is today in the care of the V&A museum in London. Read more here:

The original design describe the costume as a tight-fitting, low cut dark purple bodice, a calf length, transparent stiff skirt in the shape of the upper portion of a crinoline, and bat wing + spider web decorations all over. The design has swatches of silver and black fabrics. Three main versions exists of this costume. The original had the basic shape of today's versions, but the bodice was dark petrol continuing into the skirt. The skirt also had shades of hot pink, black and metallic nuances. The next version was more black in nuance, accented with metallic shades. The skirt was stiffer, like a cage forming a spider's web, with a slashed skirt worn underneath. This is usually what's seen in Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia. A third version, seen in the USA, is purple in shade, accented with black and metallic nuances. This version often has a tulle skirt like that of Christine, rather than the cage one, but both versions exists.

All three versions have bat wings in the decolletage and in the back, and with a similar wing headgear and winged mask on stick. Some also wear spider wristbands, plus glittering earrings and a large necklace. This costume includes black, high heeled boots and black or purple tights.