Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Deconstruction of Disney's Cinderella Dress

On March 13, 2015 Disney released its live-action version of the fairytale classic Cinderella. I came across this article about the creation of Cinderella's famous blue ballgown and thought it would be interesting to look at the process.

Three time Oscar winning (10 times nominated) costume designer Sandy Powell was in charge of costumes for the film and started work on them two years before principal photography began. It took a team of 20 people 4000 hours to create eight versions of the dress. She wanted it to look like a "watercolour in motion", for the dress to appear light as air especially when Cinderella was running away.

The dress is made of several layers. The top layer is Silk Crepeline - a very lightweight, fine silk. The layers underneath are Yumissima - an incredibly light and expensive (£150 a metre) material which floats when thrown into the air. Then there are hundreds of miles of frilled petticoats to give volume and lightness. Each layer is a slightly different colour, such as lilac, lavender, greens and blues, to create a unique periwinkle colour. Behind the many layers is a steel crinoline over a wire cage with secret handles for actress Lily James to hold on to.

The corset was designed to give Cinderella the traditional 19th century women's shape. It was revealed that every character wore one, including the maids! The corset made her waist look extra-tiny due to the optical illusion effect of the massive skirt and the detachable 'bertha' at the neckline, which was decorated with dozens of butterflies hand-painted by Hiroshima artist Haruka Miyamoto.

In total, across the eight different versions of the dress made, three miles of thread was used in the hems, 10,000 Swarovski crystals were hand-applied to the dresses, and finally, 250 metres of fabric was used in each separate dress.

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