Let's start from the beginning. My name is Stephanie and I first heard the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera as a young child. I dreamed of seeing it live and I was given the opportunity to see on tour at the age of 11 in October of 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia. The curtains rose, the music played and I was hooked. I'll never forget the cast of my first performance. It was Rick Hilsabeck, Sarah Pfisterer and Nat Chandler. It was a magical evening and 16 years plus some twenty-something performances later, I am still enchanted!
One particular piece of the musical that holds a special place in my heart is the dressing gown. I absolutely love it. It is beautiful, delicate and appears on stage during sereral important scenes of the musical. My favorite piece of the costume are the beautiful ruffled sleeves.
I have wanted to own a version of the dressing gown from the first time I saw it flow across the stage in 1994. In 1995/1996, a woman from my church created a replica for me. Looking back, the replica was very ill-fitted and didn't end up looking much like the gown from the show. However, for a 13 year old girl, I was thrilled to have it! Here is a picture:
In 1997, my father took me to see Phantom in Washington, DC. The stars of the evening were Craig Schulman and Sandra Joseph. After the show, I met with Sandra Joseph and I told her how much I loved the dressing gown. To my excitement, she allowed me to try on her dressing gown. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget!
After trying on the real deal, I wanted a version of the gown that was closer to the real thing. I didn't have funds at the time to commission a new gown. I did find a gown with similarities at Victoria's Secret. This dressing gown held me over for quite some time. Here is a picture:
Then, in 2005, I decided that I wanted to have a new version of the gown that was a close replica that fit me. I found a talented seamstress online and commissioned the gown.
While beautiful, I was not completely satisfied just yet. The delicate details of the stage gown (ruffles, the train, etc) felt over-powering in this version. It's beautiful and I'm happy to have it...but my quest continued.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever expected to own an authentic, stage-worn dressing gown. However, on one fateful night, I was browsing a Phantom forum when I came across a chance of a lifetime. Two lovely fans owned an elder dressing gown from the London production and they were looking to part with it. I was able to acquire the dressing gown from them and I still can't believe that I have it! I will forever be gratful to them! Here are several photos of this beautiful gown:
I will definitely treasure this gown forever! It truly is a dream come true!
One might think that my quest would be complete after acquiring an authentic gown. I thought so too...until I realized that I wanted a replica that was as exact as possible that would fit me. I put this idea on the back-burner until I was recently informed where to buy the same fabric that is used in the current US dressing gowns.
Here are images of the silk jacquard and the burn out velvet:
I purchased these fabrics and they were sent to the seamstress that I commissioned for this gown. I was so excited about this and I had a feeling that my search would be over once this gown was finished! I'm happy to report that my quest is now complete! The seamstress did an amazing job and it looks just like it could be used in the show on Broadway. I absolutely love it and the details are breathtaking. Images are below. :)
at 9:03 PM