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

Updated on March 20, 2015

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 Dress 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.

Costume Analysis by Casts

The Original French Version

Helene Segara as Esmeralda
Helene Segara as Esmeralda

The Original Green Dress wore 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 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 closley 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) detail 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. 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 mean 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 the most different from the original dress.

First off the fabric is green lace so the whole dress is lined in green. 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 it's darker green mixed with the lighter green and it's trim with a 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 very pretty on stage. Easily one of my favorite variations of this costume.

London Version

London Esmeralda
London Esmeralda

The Original London Esmeralda, Tina Arena, appears be be wearing a dress with the same fabric as the original version. 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. 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.

Like other costumes it opts for that infernal curved slit and the short ankle length hem (which isn't as infernal). For the trim detail, it seems to be a golden stitch; 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. The 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 appear to be sheer in certain areas, the sleeve 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 one look like a devore velvet. Devore is the result of a caustic solution that dissolves the velvet away and leaves the sheer fabric. 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 (takes out obvious horn) Sandrine is taller than Rosen. It also sports 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 wore 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 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 wore 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 shooter 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

Which Version of the Costume do you like the Best?

See results

Favorite Aspect

What is your favorite part of this costume?

See results

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 they designer are opting to keep the fabric close to the body, which is a mistake. Esmealda 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 i a weight to veldt that makes it sway is a nice manner that works for Esmeralda.

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.

Making your own

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.

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 for an Anime convention. I wanted to go off the Oringinal 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.

Tell me what do you think of this Costume

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting article of dull and unattractive dress!

    • cdevries profile image


      8 years ago

      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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