Behind the scenes of the Moulin Rouge costumes

september 2023

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© Philippe Wojazer
© Maison Février®

Did you know? For the Féerie Revue show alone, over 1,000 outfits and accessories were made-to-measure – entirely by hand! Each costume of the Moulin Rouge requires many hours of work.

We take you behind the scenes at the Moulin Rouge, to meet the crafsmen and designers who dream up the exquisite outfits for the show every day. Enter a magical world festooned with feathers, frills, sequins and rhinestones!

What does a French Cancan dancer typically wear?

The French Cancan is famous for its dancers, who dance one step in sequence after the other, wowing audiences. But this show also owes its fame to the performers’ iconic outfits.

The French Cancan dress comes in blue, white and red, and made up of several pieces, including a petticoat, knickers and corset, while stockings, a garter and ankle boots complete the outfit. Each dancer also wears a feather headdress.

© Sandie Bertrand

Who makes the costumes for the Moulin Rouge?

All Moulin Rouge costumes are made on site, in the Moulin Rouge design studio. Heading up the team of passionate costume designers, Mine Vergès, who has been working in Paris since the 1960s, dreams up and designs these spectacular outfits for the stage. Attention to detail is vital, as each piece requires between 10 and 280 hours of work.

The couturiers meticulously assemble fabrics to produce unique standout creations. Each Moulin Rouge costume is a true masterpiece of haute couture.

More than thirty people work on the creation and maintenance of the costumes. Backstage, some twenty dressers help the 60 artists with costume changes every evening – there are almost 12 changes per performance!

© Le Moulin Rouge®

What are the most iconic parts of the dancers’ costumes?

Moulin Rouge costumes are renowned for their feathers and headdresses. And these iconic, often exhilarating pieces are much more than a mere accessory. They are an integral part of cabaret costumes and epitomise French glamour on the international stage.
Miss Maëva Coucke represented France at the Miss Universe contest wearing a magnificent Moulin Rouge costume made entirely of Swarovski crystals and feathers.

© Le Moulin Rouge®

Jewellery – authentic designer pieces

The Moulin Rouge calls on couture houses to create magnificent jewellery sets. In particular, they use Swarovski crystals to create uniquely stunning hand-crafted pieces.

The online boutique offers a wide range of jewellery inspired by the finest collections. Why not treat yourself to one of these fabulous designer pieces?

© Philippe Wojazer
© Philippe Wojazer

Who are these exceptionally talented creators?

Behind every costume and adornment is a team of designers who strive to make the performers on the Moulin Rouge stage look their very best.

The feathermaker

Among the creators working backstage at the Moulin Rouge are the feathermakers.
Feather-making is a rare profession in France, requiring finely honed skills and time-honoured craftsmanship. Feathermakers transform and work with natural feathers by hand to create accessories and costume items.

The feathermakers at Maison Février work in close collaboration with the Moulin Rouge costume designers. The fabulous feather creations are made by them and adorn the stars of the stage.

© Maison Février®

The embroiderer

The Moulin Rouge costume designers also work with the Atelier Valentin teams. Founded in 2003, the embroidery team creates embossed designs and adds the finishing touches to the gorgeous Moulin Rouge costumes. Once again, each embroidered piece is unique.

These highly skilled creators use different types of thread, from the simplest such as cotton to the most luxurious like silk, and sometimes even gold and silver threads. Beads, feathers, sequins and rhinestones can also be embroidered on all kinds of fabrics.

© Philippe Wojazer

The bootmaker

Did you know that 800 pairs of shoes were handmade for the Féerie Revue show in the workshops of Maison Clairvoy? The artisan bootmakers design and create the boots and pumps worn by the Moulin Rouge performers.

Cabaret dancers’ shoes are first and foremost tools of their trade. They must be both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable so that each dancer can perform acrobatic feats unconstrained. This means each pair is made-to-measure, in order to fit the performers’ feet perfectly.

© Philippe Wojazer

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