Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Variations In An Iconic Dress

My favorite animated movie of all time is Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  I love the story and the character of Belle.  I'm also in love with the Broadway musical version, having seen it on tour four times.  In fact, I'm currently making costumes for a local production of it using teenagers and young adults.

I'm super excited about this production!  And of course, I have to make Belle's clothing, none of which is more iconic than her yellow ballgown.

I've mentioned before that taking something from animation or print and making it three-dimensional can be a bit of a challenge.  In this case it shouldn't be too hard, because Disney has women wearing this at their parks and in the live musical.  So just copy those, right?

Nope.  I have discovered over the years that there is no one single version of the dress, even with Disney.  take a look at the variations, all of the "official" Belle.

As you can see, there is not one "official" Belle ballgown.  While they are all immediately recognizable as her yellow dress, they are not exactly the same, despite all being made by Disney.  And none of them are 100% accurate to the animated version.

In one way this makes it more difficult, since there is not one single style to duplicate.  However, it also makes certain aspects easier, as I only have to get the basic lines, style, and color without having to make it perfect to one version.  This dress is so iconic that someone just has to get the color and basic silhouette and someone will recognize it as Belle's.  For example, look at this image of Belle from one of my favorite TV shows, Once Upon A Time.

There are many elements in it that are not the same as in the original Disney movie or Broadway show.  However, because of the similarities anyone can tell that this is meant to represent the same gown.

The version I'm making now is actually my third one.  The first one was actually the first dress I made on my own, several years ago.

I was pretty darn proud of that dress!  But I realized that I could probably do better, so when asked to do one as a commission I worked to improve it.

The same basic idea is there, and though neither dress is exactly like the examples I posted above, they are still something that someone can look at and think "Belle's ball gown!"

My third one will be my favorite version, with more tweaks and some changes to improve the pattern.  If you want to see what it looks like, check A Touch Of Magic Costumes on Facebook in a few weeks for the final pictures.

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