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Stage Inspiration: Fashion Inspired by Les Miserables

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Fashion inspired by Les Miserables

Hello again, friends. For the next installment of our stage fashion inspiration series (see the first post on fashion inspired by Wicked), we’re tackling the mega-musical Les Mis.

Les Miserables is probably one of the most important shows you’ll learn about in any Broadway 101 class. (My college actually offered one and it was probably the most fun class I’ve ever taken.) Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and known as one of the most influential musicals ever written, Les Mis is the third longest running show on Broadway, and the London West End production is the longest running show in the world!

Whether you’re a fan of operas or prefer more modern-sounding musical numbers, the soundtrack for Les Mis will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Seriously. The songs are moving, powerful, and of course, feature some wicked harmonies. If you’re new to the music of Les Miserables, check out versions by Susan Boyle, Lea Michelle or Nick Jonas, who got his start playing Gavroche on Broadway and now stars as Marius in the LA revival.

As much as I love the music from Les Mis, I love the costumes as well. Think wearable outfits can’t be adapted from costumes based around the French Revolution? Read on!

Do You Hear The People Sing?

Les Miserables - Can You Hear the People Sing?

Les Miserables follows a group of people who search for redemption, love, and prosperity during the French Revolution. The plot is a little too complicated to justly explain in a few sentences, so if you’re interested, click here for the full synopsis.

Homeless chic style has understandably caused tons of controversy in the past, so musicals like Les Miserables and Oliver! are more ethical sources of inspiration if you’re attracted to gritty style. The characters in Les Mis experience periods of extreme wealth and poverty, creating outfits that exemplify “high-low” fashion in its purest form.

Expensive coats and trousers from the characters’ pasts have grown old and tattered, but they still wear them with pride, giving each character an eclectic look. Characters also layer a myriad of different textures, patterns, and fabrics to protect themselves from harsh French winters. They combine formal vests with utilitarian coats, and wear tough boots and warm hats out of necessity. Add accessories like scarves, fingerless gloves, or a leather belt to complete your look.

Friends of the Abaisse

Les Miserables - Revolution and Friends of the Abaisse

The Friends of the Abaisse (also known as the Friends of the ABC) are a group of revolutionary students dedicated to uplifting the poor, building a democracy, and fighting for justice. As college students, many of them come from well-to-do families and used to live comfortable lives before the war hit.

Even in the 1800s, stripes were a staple of French ensembles, so start your look with a striped top. Add a tweed pair of trousers, a scarf, beret, lace up oxford shoes, and an old fashion military-esque coat to complete the look.

Outfit inspired by Friends of the Abaisse from Les Miserables
Shirt, Trousers, Scarf, Beret, Shoes, Coat

Enjolras

Les Miserables - Enjolras

Enjolras is the passionate leader of the Friends of Abaisse. He gets to sing many of the powerful anthems and most recognizable songs in the musical, including One Day More, Look Down, Red and Black, and Do You Hear The People Sing? 

Enjolras’s costume is perhaps the most iconic look to come from Les Miserables. To mimic it without looking costume-y, lose the puffy blouse and cummerbund and replace them with red skinnies, a navy button-down shirt, and of course, his signature vest.

Outfit inspired by Enjolras from Les Miserables
Shirt, Scarf, Vest, Pants, Boots

Eponine

Les Miserables - Eponine

Eponine is one of the most coveted roles on Broadway (our girl Lea Michelle from Glee even snagged it once). Once a pampered child, Eponine’s family was hit hard by tough economic times and she was reduced to living on the streets.

Snag her look in a modern way by pairing a peasant blouse with a maxi skirt. Add a belt, trench coat, necklace, and her signature hat to complete the look.

Outfit inspired by Eponine from Les Miserables
Hat, Skirt, Blouse, Coat, Belt, Shoes, Necklace

Gavroche

Les Miserables - Gavroche

Gavroche, Eponine’s brother and a brave street urchin, doesn’t let his young age or small stature keep him from helping start the revolution.

Get his style by pairing a blouse with tweed shorts. (Layer tights underneath for extra style and warmth.) Finish the look with a vest, a newsboy cap, a messenger bag, and tough-looking military boots.

Outfit inspired by Gavroche from Les Miserables
Hat, Messenger Bag, Tights, Shorts, Blouse, Vest, Boots

Thoughts?

Have you seen Les Miserables? What did you think of it? What are your favorite parts? What is your favorite song? Did you find the costumes inspiring? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

And don’t forget to let us know what musical or play you would like to see us cover in the future — you just might see your request next week! =)

Posted on on October 6, 2011 / Filed Under: Inspiration / Tags: , ,

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66 Responses to “Stage Inspiration: Fashion Inspired by Les Miserables”

  1. 1
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Gavroche was not Eponine’s brother in the play, only in the book.

  2. 2
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    These outfits and I should get married.

    @Lexi, I didn’t know Gavroche was Eponine’s brother in the book! I really feel like I should read it instead of just knowing the story from the musical, but it’s… so… long.

    Keep it up, CF!

  3. 3
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I love that you’re writing about fashion inspiration on Broaday shows. Most people don’t even know what Broadway is! They just think it’s “some place in New York.”
    Also, I would like to ask you to write about other shows that aren’t like Wicked (and more like Phantom, Chicago, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Gypsy. You know… the classics). I mean I love Wicked and the costumes are amazing (talking about Glinda of course) but I think it’s kind of overrated and I’m starting to get annoyed with people who listen to “Defying Gravity” by Glee (not even the original Wicked cast) and think they are Broadway experts and are actually proud of it.
    I love Glee, I love Wicked. I just dislike people who declare themselves Broadway experts when they don’t even know who Ethel Merman is.
    Les Miz is one of my favorite (because it’s a classic show) and thanks for posting about it!

  4. 4
    October 6th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I love the translation of costume to outfit! I’ve never seen the musical (sad, I know!), but the military details, satchels, and oxfords seem right up my alley!

  5. 5
    October 6th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Love this post! Menswear and military inspired pieces are my absolute favorite!

  6. 6
    October 6th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Les Mis is my favorite broadway show ever… great clothes too!

  7. 7
    October 6th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I just Stumbled here and am very impressed! I love the idea of translating Les Mis into real street wear! Clever girl….I have a feeling I’ll be wearing your designs before long!

  8. 8
    October 6th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I love this! Maybe I’ll wear one of these outfit inspirations when I see Les Mis later this year! You should do Phantom of the Opera next (the show, not the movie!)

  9. 9
    October 6th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    What an amazing piece! You really captured the characters of the play and made it into incredible wearable outfits!! I think this might be one of my favorite CF posts ever! Great job!

  10. 10
    October 6th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    LOVE these outfits!! Can’t wait to try them out!

  11. 11
    October 6th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    im a huge musical theatre geek so this is an awesome idea. i thinking that a spring awakening and hairspray.
    maybe even a rocky horror picture show one which is more costumey for the rocky horror events that come up around halloween

  12. 12
    October 6th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    This is an amazing series! I agree with Sofia that Chicago and My Fair Lady would be nice to see because you usually only see these musicals when they are paired with costumes or character outfits. I would like to see it done for an every day look! There are so many great shows out there that this could continue for my entire life and be fine by me! Fabulous post!

  13. 13
    October 6th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Please, please, please do The Phantom of the Opera next!!!!!

  14. 14
    October 6th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Gavroche’s outfit has got to be my favourite. I love Les Mis!

    If you want some musicals to pull fashion inspiration from, I like to look at France’s comedie musicales. Romeo et Juliette (especially the revival version) and Mozart L’Opera Rock have gorgeous costumes. I’d kill to get my hands of some of the things their casts got to wear!

  15. 15
    October 6th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Such great posts, I’d love to see Spring Awakening, or maybe Hairspray or Rent.

  16. 16
    October 6th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    My high school did Les Mis when I was a junior and I was the costume captain :) I’m impressed with the way you translated the costumes to the street style….you could even use them as costumes in a contemporary adaptation maybe.
    Who knows lol

  17. 17
    October 6th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Nooo, but the vest must be red! Haha, I really love the red vest, I think I’d definitely try to find one in order to channel my inner Enjolras, but heaven knows how long it would take to find one! These outfits are awesome!

  18. 18
    October 6th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Lovely outfits! But the French revolution was in 1789-1799, not the 1800s.

  19. 19
    October 6th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    @Jeanni

    The French revolution was from 1789-1799, but Les Miserable takes place during the June Rebellion in 1832, which was after the July Revolution in 1830 and before the French revolution of 1848. History major, can’t help it!

    I love the Eponine outfit. I’ve been all about maxi skirts this fall, so cute. And I love this series!

  20. 20
    October 6th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    *sigh* I LOVE Les Mis! Such a beautiful and heartbreaking story… and the songs are amazing too.

    I dare you to do Cats… would be very interesting to see how that is translated to every day clothes!

  21. 21
    October 6th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Love, love, love, love, love this. Les Miserables was my first musical…as in my parents had a copy of the 10th Anniversary Concert VHS and I had the whole thing memorized by the time I was 8. It will always be my favorite!

    Great outfits, too :)

    P.S. I know Nick Jonas has a wider audience, but seriously, Michael Ball is probably the greatest Marius *ever*. And I’m a little bit sad that there’s no Lea Salonga in the Eponine photo set..no love for Miss Saigon/Mulan/Jasmine?

  22. 22
    October 6th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Oh my god! So happy about this. I saw Les Mis at Queen’s Theatre in London this summer (yay for Alfie Boe, Matt Lucas, and HADLEY FRASER!) and it was one of the best days of my life.
    You did lovely with the fashion (:
    I’d adore a Phantom of the Opera post (:

  23. 23
    October 6th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    i love the blue and brown coat you featured for Friends of the Abaisse but the link isn’t working. where is it from, and how much?

  24. 24
    October 6th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    The Gavroche shorts are adorable, but seem to be in infant sizes. Any suggestions for where to get juniors or womens shorts like that?

  25. 25
    October 6th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    These are amazing! My school is doing this musical this year, so it kinda made my day to see it here:)

    I think it would be awesome if you did [title of show] next! That, or maybe Anything Goes, Hair, or Lion King!

  26. 26
    October 6th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    CUTE outfits!

  27. 27
    October 6th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Omg! I LOVE this!!!
    May I suggest doing an inspiration from Spring Awakening?
    Wendla’s Mama Who Bore Me costume is one of my all time favorties.
    Anything Goes has great potential, too!

  28. 28
    October 6th, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I love that my shuffle just changed to Empty Chairs at Empty Tables when I opened up CF to read new posts.

    Les Miserables is by far my favourite musical. I’ve traveled across the world to see different performances, and never fail to check if a city I’m in has a traveling has a show by any random chance.

    But no love for Cosette? I’d love to see a part two inspired by some of their songs (Lovely Ladies? ;) A Heart Full of Love? Master of the House). Great choice of musicals so far though… I’d love to see something inspired by Phantom of the Opera (another classic!) or hilarity from the Producers!

  29. 29
    October 6th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    This is officially my favorite post ever! I was lucky enough to go see this in march last spring for my 17th birthday. It was phenomenal. These outfit translations are great…can’t wait to try them out.
    I think anything goes would be fantastic, along with aida, evita, and little shop of horrors. I also read the book…all 1463 pages of it.
    On a sidenote, I can’t wait for cameron mackintosh’s musical movie version to come out!!! I’ve been checking in since it was rumored and now they have major cast members and a release date!

  30. 30
    October 6th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I love Les Mis! And I love those plaid pants in the first outfit. Plaid is such a sexy pattern.

  31. 31
    October 7th, 2011 at 2:08 am

    The shorts for the Gavroche inspired look was made for toddlers…why would you put that up?

  32. 32
    October 7th, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Please continue the series! :) Also I love Eponine and Enjolras’ outfits. :)

    I read the book before I saw the musical, and I would really recommend it. It’s actually not as bad as you might think. I read it in 9th grade, and was able to get through it relatively quickly.

    Can I suggest Cats for the next post? :)

  33. 33
    October 7th, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Great article! How about you do Hair next? My school’s gonna be performing Hair this spring :)

  34. 34
    October 7th, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I loved it, think you should do either Hairspray, Legally Blonde or Spring Awakenig next xoxo

  35. 35
    October 7th, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I really enjoyed the Wicked style inspiration, and this one was fun too! Definitely keep doing these….I issue Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a challenge. :)

    I was kind of disappointed that the twill shorts don’t exist in adult sizes though, they’re so cute!

  36. 36
    October 7th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Please, please, please do Phantom of the Opera next. I love the outfits you’ve put together so far in the musicals series, and I would love to see how you’d translate Phantom to wearable fashion. Plus, Phantom’s costumes are arguably the most elegant, dramatic, and decadent costumes of any show on the West End or Broadway, perfect inspiration

  37. 37
    October 7th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I second Amy. Challenge edition – Weber’s CATS!!

    Also, Eponine’s outfit is pretty, but I would have liked Cosette, too.

  38. 38
    October 8th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    GAH!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LES MIS!!!!!!!!!! SOOOO MUCH…!!!

    ValJean is my FAVORITE character, closely followed by Fantine, Enjolras, and Gavroche. UGH. Favorite songs are definitely “One Day More” and “Bring Him Home”, although I also love “A Heart Full of Love”, “Master of The House”, and “Dog Eats Dog”. 25th Anniversary Concert cast is easily the best — Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo, Lea Salonga, Katie Hall… Total awesomeness!!!

    I have to say that the one inspired by Enjolras is the best. xD

  39. 39
    October 8th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    My fave musical! I’m definitely going to think about this next time I go shopping or shop my closet. Particularly the Enjy vest. ;D

  40. 40
    October 9th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I’d LOVE to see Spring Awakening as an inspiration! That show is so stylish on its own!

  41. 41
    October 9th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I LOVE these posts:) You should do Carousel (my favorite) :) Love the ones you’ve done so far. Keep up the good work!

  42. 42
    October 9th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Just a well-intentioned bit of info, Les Miserables doesn’t take place during the French Revolution, it takes place during the events leading up to the 1832 Rebellion. It was a very different time, and though the motivations are similar, by 1832 France already had a revolutionary tradition. Just FYI.

  43. 43
    October 9th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    absolutely LOVE LeMiz! Ive seen it 6 times and read the book twice. Im absolutely in love with this article and I couldn’t have asked for better outfit inspirations!!

  44. 44
    October 13th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    omgomgomgomg i love this!! les mis is my most favorite play ever! the first time i ever saw it i was 4 and i’ve loved it ever since!!!!! these posts are amazing and i love that you guys are giving a shoutout to us theater geeks and showing everyone how fashionable plays can be!! and you should definitely do Phantom next (the play not the movie) it’s another one of my absolute favorites :D keep up the awesome work!!

  45. 45
    January 14th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    …can i just have these all? i love les mis. so much. you need to do another one with cosette and valjean and javert and people. <3
    gavroche's is my favorite out of these, but i like éponine's too.

  46. 46
    February 19th, 2012 at 11:42 am

    i’m actually in love with this musical, and these outfits are amazing. i would wear them all. all the time. <3

  47. 47
    April 4th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Love these, especially Eponine and Enjolras’s outfits. (THANK YOU FOR NOT MENTIONING COSETTE/MARIUS.) Could you perhaps do one based on Miss Saigon or Wicked, or pretty much any other musical?

    *A Little Fall of Rain*
    (I’d just like to point out, though, the musical is NOT centered around the French Revolution… -_-. It takes place during the 1832 June Rebellion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Rebellion… sorry… Les Miz/Broadway obsessive here…)

  48. 48
    May 1st, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I adore the Gavrouche outfit…I may have to go out and replicate it :D

  49. 49
    June 21st, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Could you pleeeeease do Phantom of the Opera inspired fashion?? It’s my favorite play!! And a clazzic :) and I would LOVE to see your ideas on those costumes :D

  50. 50
    August 21st, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is amazing!!! I am seriously in love with Les Mis and these outfits are totally fitting! I love this so much! My favorite is the Enjolras Inspired outfit. The vest is perfect!

  51. 51
    August 21st, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    You should do a Carousel inspired outfit for Julie and Carrie and Mr. Snow (nautical)!!! Also Phantom of the Opera and Hairspray (Tracey, Penny, Link, Seaweed)!

  52. 52
    August 30th, 2012 at 9:34 am

    You should do Newsies :) as a stage inspiration

  53. 53
    September 12th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I love EVERYTHING about this. Too bad I am way too late to purchase any of this. If you get bored I would not mind an updated version =P

  54. 54
    September 14th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Sometimes, Eponine wears trousers, instead of a skirt, just to give her character that much more of an edginess. Samantha Barks wore trousers (instead of a skirt) during the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables.

  55. 55
    December 3rd, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Can you do Newsies next?

  56. 56
    December 26th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I would love to see a part 2 of this…especially as the movie just came out and several characters were left out-no Valjean, Javert, Cosette, or Marius. You could also make some pretty awesome outfits based on the innkeepers.

  57. 57
    February 5th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Enjolras’ outfit was definitely the best and most wearable. Not my favorite character, but the clothes are pretty great. My faves are Eponine and Gavroche, so I like look down (Gavroche’s part mostly!) and A Little Fall of Rain. Only saw les mis twice, but bawled like a baby both times. The guy next to me had to cover his ear, and I AM NOT EMBARASSED!

  58. 58
    February 5th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I’m dressing up as Éponine for Halloween!

  59. 59
    March 18th, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Love your creative interpretations! One correction you may want to make. Les Mis is not about the French Revolution at all. The scenes with the students are based on the 1832 uprisings which happened many decades later.

  60. 60
    April 21st, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Les Mis takes place after the French Revolution, loved the outfits .

  61. 61
    July 31st, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Do Legally Blonde please!

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