25 December, 2009

Wicked: Glinda's Bubble Gown: UK/European version

The international productions of Wicked have a very different style to them. While the Tokyo production mirrors the US versions in many aspects of its costuming, England, Australia, and Germany look different in other ways, and the Bubble Gown is no exception. While (as I said) this is the case for Sydney, London, and Stuttgart, I'm calling it the UK version because it's shorter and I can be all like, "US, SF, UK".
[the images in the article have been cropped to highlight whatever components I am focusing. The originals seen here, and several others, can be found in The  UK Bubble Gown's gallery here.]

Main differences:
·         The neckline is a sweetheart, with some variations being slightly v-shaped and others a deeper, heart-shaped plunge
·         The waistline also pointed, with some variations coming to a shallow, wide point and others longer, lengthening the torso.
·         The details are more… detailed (haha), with the sequins clustered closer together than US versions.

Fabric: Like the other versions, this dress is mainly composed of an ice blue fabric Jana calls a “pearlised sheer”.

Bodice: The neckline is sweet-heart. The Sydney version is the softest, coming to a very wide point; the UK is much deeper, but the Stuttgart variation rounds in a heart shape to a plunging neckline. A sheer blue ruffle runs along the front and back of the neckline, but not over the sleeves.
The bodice is heavily boned, effectively serving as a corset. There are 8 panels in the front and 6 in the back. The German version has an eyehook closure, but I'm uncertain if this is the case for the UK and Australia versions.

The bodice has sequins all over it, but they are concentrated in a v-shape along the neckline. The sequins are sewn onto an interfacing, which is attached to the bodice. The colours seen on the sequins are mostly shades of blue, ranging from royal blue to periwinkle, but there are also some golds, greens, lavender, and clear ones as well. (The second picture has higher saturation so you can see the different colours more clearly) They look like they are round, about 1/4" across, with two holes. 

Sleeves: A crinkled, sheer blue fabric (possibly the same used in the ruffle), the sleeves fall off the shoulder and are elasticised top and bottom. 

There are scattered sequins throughout the folds. To my eye, the German production seems like the sleeves are larger and droopier. I think they might be a little bell-shaped, with the top significantly narrower than the bottom. 

Ruff: The collar as seen in Europe goes in a different direction than in the US. Rather than being made out of the same fabric as the bodice and being opaque, it is constructed out of a sheer fabric similar to the sleeves and is studded with little rhinestones in gold, silver, and blue. It also has vein-like seams that remind me of shattered glass.

The straps run from where the shoulder meets the bodice seams to the bottom of the ruff, which comes further forward than the US version, so instead of being vertical, they are diagonal, giving the bodice a halter-type look. The straps are a nude satin, with the same rhinestones from the collar running along them. It looks like they go in a “white-blue-white-blue” pattern.

Skirt (general): The harness holding Glinda in her Bubble is sewn into the skirt, with a hook that a castmember unfastens before she gets out (and walks among the Munchkins) and then re-fastens (when she gets back in at the end of the number).

Based on my notes when I saw the show and what I’ve seen in various bootlegs, I believe the unfastening happens upon the line “the wicked die alone!”, she steps out on “…on your own!” She returns to the bubble on “throughout the land”, and in the brief seconds before “and goodness knows”, she’s refastened, and the bubble takes off just as she sings the echo.
Since the choreography doesn’t vary much at all between productions, I’m pretty confident in stating that that’s the order of things. Here are a few screencaps (note: recording a show is bad. Never do this.) illustrating this, but to see how insanely fast this actually happens, watch this video here. (6.50-6.54)
Obviously any fan making this gown is probably not going to need to replicate this aspect of the costume, but it’s good to note, anyway.
The UK version seems (to me) to be fluffier and more bell-shaped than the US interpretation. As in, it goes wider, but while the US version is an even dome, the UK widens at the waist and then slopes down at a hard angle. 

Skirt (Petals): As in other incarnations, the tear-drop shaped petals are small on the top and get progressively larger towards the bottom. If I had to estimate, I’d say they start around 8” across at the waist and are about 2’ across at the bottom. 

The UK sequins, as noted on the description (also pointed out by Andrea in her bubble gown analysis on Galinda’s Wardrobe), are darker and clustered together than the US. This gives the gown a perception of heaviness, as well as making the details more apparent.  The sequins appear to be the same ones seen on the bodice, and as seen on other variations, the sequins run along the edge of the petal, as well making faux petals along the larger ones. 

This is a good closeup shot of the layers on the individual petals as seen on Jana Stelley’s bubble gown. It looks like the bottom layer is a stiff satin fabric (probably heavily interfaced), a sheer blue fabric that, as Julia (from the Stuttgart production) pointed out, has small dots that get larger towards  the edge of the petal, and on top the light fabric that the sequins are sewn onto. 
Here are two images, one natural and one darkened, so you can see the dots better. 

Glinda's Crown & Wand are covered here. (Don't worry; I'll be updating the article soon*)

Necklace: There are three variations, and I’ve seen each variation in each production (London, Sydney, Stuttgart) so I’m thinking it’s not a huge deal. There’s a necklace with one large snowflake

One with multiple snowflakes

And a weird pendant-y thingy also seen in the US.  

Shoes: In NOMTW, Glinda wears her shiz shoes to aid her quick change. Glinda wears a pair of gold pumps for the entire duration of Act 2 (and in a few cases, starting from the train station in Act 1.)

*As in instance where I use the word "soon", please bear in mind that in the New Testament, Christ promises to return "soon", and this was written about two thousand years ago, thus defining the Christian's interpretation of the word "soon" forever. Thanks for your patience. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have seen both the US and Australian versions of Wicked and as a fellow costume-lover, I LOVE the Australian Glinda bubble gown!

I wish they'd replicate it's style a bit more in our SanFran version, however the Australian Glinda is significantly younger and seems to pull of the dress rather nicely which I don't know if it can be said about our SanFran Glinda (though she still is a pretty thing).


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