Arwen's Bridge Dress

V3.3, December 2004

For you I will forsake the immortal life of my people

Identifying photo:

A romantic dress for an elven princess. Arwen is first seen in this dress wearing the dress in the library where she consoles Aragorn after his confrontation with Boromir and the sword. The cloak wrapped across her shoulders obscure the full magnificence of the dress.

Moments later they meet on a bridge backlit, by moonlight.  A waterfall rushes in the background.  She presents him with Evenstar and vows to give up her immortal life to be with him.  Then... the kiss.


Bridge Dress


Long beaded white gown.  It has a deep, but narrow cowl neck.  There are two layers.  The inner dress ends at floor level.  The outer dress has a narrow train that looks to be almost 2 feet long.  The dress is fitted at the waist and then loosens to sweep out for the skirt.   The sleeves leave the shoulder bare.  They fall to to almost her knees.

The bridge scene was shot with an amber filter when the shot favored Arwen. The dress at first glance appears yellow but that is simply all the embroidery.  The  base fabric appears to be off white but you have to take into account the fabric backing would change the colour of the shear fabric and the lighting could also make the fabric appear lighter than it is.  The cowl fabric is different from the sleeves and body of the gown. 

The shawl she wears might be the Halo Cloak, but it doesn't look quite as fuzzy.  So, she may have two version of a long triangle shawl.  This looks a bit softer, it could be a silk chiffon vs. something fancier.

The dress is only seen from extreme close up or a very long shot so we had to study a lot more of her dresses to be able to interpret the little we see of this dress.  Because of this, as we step though the detailed description, will refer to the photos to support the conclusions.

The weight of the beads and a pull on the back of the gown pulls the fabric away from the breast causing a major case of gaping just above the breast.  The shawl hides the problem in the library scene and careful shooting on the bridge also hides the problem.  This may be why we don't have a good front shot of the dress. 

  • The dress is two layers, with a narow but long train on the outer layer.
    • This can be seen in several pictures, best in the long shots where she reaches towards Aragorn. The under layer stays near her legs.  The outer layer stretches back quite a bit.  There appears to be at least a 2 foot train.
  • The outer layer is made from a pre-beaded off-white crinkle chiffon or georgette fabric
    • In the DVD documentaries, Liv discusses how much noise the dress made while she was "floating" into the room in her elven room.  There is no special boarder on the bottom so, there would be beads down there.
    • It is embroidered with gold threads.  The thread is shiny like rayon natesh thread or silk embroidery thread.  It is not metallic.  The embroidery is a repeating random pattern embroidery of curly q's.  In the enclosed circles, a golden toned pearl or gold luster bead sits on what appears to be a fabric sequin.  It is thicker than the average sequin.  It is not a round cut piece of fabric because they all lay flat, there is no curling. 
      • For reproducing the effect a mat gold luster sequin or a mat clear sequin.  They may be beads but that would really add to the weight of the dress.
  • There is one close up of the fabric (as Arwen hands evenstar to Aragorn).  Not much can be seen.  What we do see is the chiffon fabric and the knubby little sequin beads.  This texture is what make the fabric appear like a lace in some shots.
    • Pattern for the sequins:  Bring the needle up though the center of a sequin.  Add 3 white iridescent seed beads to the needle.  Bring the needed back down through the fabric just above the top of the sequin.  Tie off.  Go on to next.
      • Pure guestimate.  These are about 1-1 1/2 inches apart.
      • Cannot tell if there are any other bead patterns on the dress as well.
  • The underlayer is an opaque silk, probably china silk, but this is just a guess.  It is used only for the body of the gown, not the neck or the sleeves.
    • Guestimate.  The drape looks right and it's an inexpensive silk easily attainable from India.
  • Seams, sides for sure, that's how it is fitted.  Only partially fitted that way.
    • What little we can see from the front, there are not princess seams.  Also, it is unlikely they would cut this kind of fabric.  They could easily fit it along the sides to the waist.  We do see the fabric is tight under the bust. (kiss pictures.)
    • Where there is a lot of evidence for invisible zippers in other outfits , this dress may not have one.  There is a long tie in back at the waist. 
      • The dress is fitted by means of a narrow tie in the back.  It pulls and shapes, so the dress will be loose enough to slip on without adding a zipper.
      • There's no knowledge of what the tie is made of, since we only see it with the statue, and they're not good for details.
    • The way this dress behaves, we're guessing it's just the 2 long pieces, no side gores, no separate waist... because we do not see a belt.  Also, in the long shot of the kiss, the outer fabric is pulled away from her body above the waist. 
      • What we're probably seeing is the effect of the tie pulling the dress back.
      • There's a good chance that the dress is only made of two widths of fabric.  We never see it pulling out in large amounts.  It just has that wonderful train.
        • Extra reasoning might be that it is very expensive beaded fabric (and an early created dress) so budget was was tighter.
  • Neckline a very low and wide scoop.  It is draped with a narrow cowl. 
    • The outer layer dress is probably built on a reinforced narrow strap on the shoulder... very much like the outer layer of the 2 part dresses, but the two layers would be connected in this case.  The cowl neckline would just be lightly attached on top.  Given how square the neckline shows up on the statue... this shoulders might be mostly straps... and the cowl neck just hides this
    • The under side of the neck band is probably no more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  The cowl drape would need to be tacked in to keep it narrower on the shoulder straps.
  • The sleeves are almost rectangular.  They dangle straight down most of the way to her knees.  Only the bottom 2/3s of the sleeve is attached.  It is higher attached in back, and starts lower in front. 
    • The sleeve pattern can best be seen in the two kissing photos that are medium shots.  While these are fuzzy, you can see how much of the shoulder the sleeve leaves bare.
    • The length of the sleeves can be seen in any of the bridge shots.  Since the fabric is the same, you need to look close but the edge is there.
  • The long sleeve are cut up the center on the outside.  This slit extends all the way up above her elbow.  Guessing that the inside is stitched closed w/ a serge or French seam.
    • The outside cut and be seen in the kissing close-up photos.  It's dead down the center by the way that the fabric pulls are her arms come forward.  There is no seam that can be seen on her shoulder, so it assumed that the tube is closed on the under arm side like a normal sleeve.  It would have a clean finish.  After seeing the kiss photos, if you look closing at the closest bridge shot we have, you can see the arm slit there too, just very faintly.

Weta Bridge Statue

Here where we see the tie, very long tail.  The tie fits the gown closer   Close-up of the tie.  That's folds in the fabric, not a slit.

Thanks to Ela for the statue photos: 

More in the Hair Jewel section

Bridge Dress Photographs

Hair Jewel Details


  • Arwen’s hair is held back by what looks like a delicate wire necklace turned into hair jewels.
    • The side hair clips are decorated with a triple set of flower shaped design.  The top two "flowers" have 4 petals each.  The bottom has 3 petals.  There looks to be some kind of a flat elongated gem in the center, but given the resolution, these could just be open silver loops. The two flowers that have 4 petals each have a chain attached that goes across the back of the hair.
    • the back hair jewel is formed from two different silver chains going between the hair clips. 
      • The outer (top) layer is shorter and a tad heaver.  It has little metal fringes... about 1" long.
      • The underlayer looks like loops of chain connected onto the main chain.  There are another four thin chains hanging from the thick chain & overlapping each other in 2" by 1 1/2" drapes at the outsides, and
        overlapping.  There are another two chain drapes in the center that
        hang twice as far, and at the outside end there is a 3rd length that
        (estimate, since can't see) is twice as long as the inner two.
  • A guess on making this:  It looks specifically like some of the hair jewels in "Ever After" Specifically about the Hair bits Arwen is wearing in the Bridge scene in Rivendell... This look could be make with inexpensive hair clip with little circles in them and two necklaces from the Sari district.   Also, both drapes in the back could be made easily w/ chain.

Weta Statue

These may just be paint lines, but they're close...


Thanks to Ela for the statue photos: 

Hair Jewel Photographs

Section editors: Ela, Johanna & Cat

This page was last updated 04/22/08