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Home > Research > Elphaba > Elphaba's Act II Dress Breakdown and Analysis

Elphaba's Act II Dress Breakdown and Analysis

Below is a detailed breakdown and analysis of the Act II dress.  I break the outfit down from head to toe, starting from the top!  See the Act II Dress Page for full pictures of the outfit.


The hat is a pointy witches hat that is a little lop-sided with the brim on the left side turned up slightly.  The point of the hat is not a symmetrical cone, it is a little crooked and squiggly.  The hat is not plain black.  The fabric used is black with a dark blue or grey, I am going to "small splatters" or almost scale looking spots, covering the hat.  The brim of the hat also has, I guess you could call, binding, on it.

see how it isn't a symmetrical cone shape? note the upturned brim close up of spots



Elphaba has her same long dark brown wig in Act II as well.  She wears it down for some scenes and others it is twisted into a bun at the base of her neck (so she can still wear the hat).  I can't figure out why she wears her hair up sometimes because some Elphaba's have their hair down in the same scenes where some have their hair up.  So, maybe preference of the actress?



The bodice of this dress is very very complicated.  But I am going to start with the original bodice which is much simpler.  The original bodice has a collar, long sleeves with small puffs at the top and a large "V" shaped patch in the front covered in netting and with ruffles along the edges of the "V".  The original idea was that Elphaba had patched up her Defying gravity dress along her journey so the top was kind of a similar shape as that dress.  That top did not last very long and was only worn by some early Elphabas.

Now, the second incarnation of the bodice is very detailed.  It has the same sort of shape to it though.  A high collar, long sleeves etc but it has a corset type piece starting halfway down the bodice that has multiple panels.  The panels in turn have multiple fabrics patch worked together to make very unique textiles that have some glittery fabric, velvet and various other fabrics.  Some of the panels also have what looks like black velvet ribbon sewn the the seams.  The bottom of the corset is not straight across, it is jaggity and zigzaggy.  Above the corset piece, the bust of the dress again has some fabrics patch worked together with what looks like lace over it.  On the back, the corset sections also start about halfway down the top and you can see the back has a zipper.  On the left underbust and the right collar there is also some flower shaped beading accents.  The collar is ruffled and scrappy looking, if that makes sense, like someone cut the fabric and just left the edges rough with out finishing them.

the bodice you can see how the corset has a zig-zaggy/jaggity shape on the bottom high rough collar and do you see the flower beading on the left lower bust (her left, not yours) note the zipper in the back and the shape of the corset sections in the back

the velvet ribbon in between the sections of the corset flower beading that is present on the left lower bust above the corset line flower beading on right neck line



The sleeves are the same types of material the bust part of the top is made of.  some type of black overlain on top of other materials.  the sleeves have a lot of loose threads hanging off of them as well.  The cuffs of the sleeves have the same rough shape as the collar with rough edges and loose fabrics.  Some sleeves have different trims around the cuffs as well.  On the shoulders of the sleeves, there ruffles, if you want to call them that.  They are rough and jaggity like everything else.  It looks like the right side is purple and black ruffles, the left looks more like it is just black or a really dark purple.

the cuff, note the cute trim around the wrist fabric of sleeves and the ruffles on the left side ruffles on the right see all the dangly strings hanging off the sleeve



Elphaba does not appear to wear the cape in all of the scenes because she doesn't appear to have it during some production in the scene at the corn field where she fights with Glinda.  The cape is a dark wine color and looks like a slightly shiny fabric. It goes almost all the way to the floor, maybe a foot off of the floor or so.  One thing to note is that it isn't all the same length, it gets shorter going all the say up to about the hips and cascades down the a longer length.




The skirt is very detailed like the top.  The shape is more fitted at the hips and flares out near the bottom.  It has dozens and dozens of strips of fabric sewn to the skirt and varies colors and patterns of fabric.  The edges look like they have been surged.  The strips do not start out going horizontal, until about half way down the dress and slant upwards to the middle front of the skirt (almost in and "A" shape if that makes sense).  As the strips go down the skirt, the eventually become horizontal in orientation.  There are some loose strings hanging on the skirt like there are on the top.  Some skirts appear to be a little fuller at the bottom than others.

see how it goes up in the top middle and the stripes eventually become horizontal this skirt isn't quite as full at the bottom many, many layers.
you can see the strips going upwards near the top here all the different fabrics more ruffles!


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