While looking for dress patterns online I found a beautiful blue ball gown similar to the iconic costume from the new Cinderella film. I love big dresses and so making something big and extravagant like this is a must someday in the future, but I haven’t actually seen the film yet (don’t worry, it’s definitely on my to-do list!) so I didn’t have a true feel for just how awesome the Cinderella costume itself was in action. I took a look.
The Production Design in this film ❤
I tend to stay away from looking too closely at the film costume industry, because I don't think my skills as a Modelmaker are high profile enough- it is also rather closely linked to the propmaking industry, and a period of work experience at Pinewood Studios last year told me that was not something I wanted to dedicate such a huge part of my life to. However, I cannot help but be fascinated by the beauty of the costumes created for film and television; another example is of Game of Thrones designer Michele Carragher’s beautiful embroidery work I stumbled across while doing research for a previous project:
The main thing about costume for film and television that has always fascinated me (and Cinderella’s dress is no exception as you will see) is how the design of the thing, and the processes and techniques that go into it, links into the character of the person wearing it and even the overall plot. Again, my age old passion of illusion and how to immerse an audience is playing on my senses.
At the Harry Potter Studio Tour (I’ve been twice already and intend to go again) there are lots of costumes on display and snippets of the costume designers talking about the logistics behind the design of every costume. Once you’ve looked at a design in this way it’s possible to do it with every character you see on screen; soon you start noticing the little ways that costume designers use human association to their advantage. I live in The Costwolds, in a small town known for being full of ‘hippies’, and the eco-friendly-fabric shapeless smock and square-toed rubber shoes featured in Professor Trelawney’s costume are very reminiscent of outfits I see people wearing on the high street every day (they’ve still been magickified though, an even cleverer feature, an element I will look into one day in a different blog post entirely dedicated to the epicness that was Harry Potter’s Production Design team and Stephanie McMillan <3) Even Professor Snape’s costume I feel hints at undercurrents of (spoiler alert!) an inner struggle between good and evil, with the buttons up the front resembling a vicar’s cassock- a character whom you would expect to do good- while the high collar creates the illusion of power and arrogance.
The most interesting of these examples, though (and with an explanation recorded on camera at the tour, rather than just theorised by myself) was the costume series for the formidable Professor Umbridge. As she gains power throughout the series, her dresses become brighter and deeper shades of pink, until even her colleagues begin to adopt pink accessories into their wardrobe as a result of her manipulation. What a horrible woman!
But how does this all tie in to Cinderella? Well, the dress was based on 19th century royal portraits- ‘a watercolour in motion.’ You only need to see a clip of the two of them dancing to witness the extraordinary phenomenon of what looks like a woman stepped straight out of an oil painting come to life. I am so excited by how the designers have managed to make her look so completely unreal, a human walking talking illustration. The illusion is so spectacular.
There was even some controversy as to whether or not Lily James’s waist had been photoshopped skinnier for the film. It certainly looks tiny, and while I don’t disagree with the use of Photoshop sometimes for artistic enhancement purposes I can understand why some Disney lovers would be in uproar. In an article on the dress in the Mail Online however, Creator Sandy Powell pronounces the theory untrue, saying the contrast is due alone to some very tight corsetry and clever optical illusions created by the dress’s shape.
Look at her waist. It looks miniscule! But it’s no wonder when you consider the vastness of her skirt and even the width of the neckline. Such clever craftsmanship. Future wedding dress please!
“The top layer of the gown is silk crepeline, a very lightweight, fine silk. The layers underneath are made up of a synthetic called yumissima, an incredibly light (and very expensive, about £150 a metre) material which floats when thrown in the air.”
Need I say it, but the little lights in the dress (are they lights or just particularly shiny jewels? I’d make them fibre optics!) are beautiful- and the little butterflies on the neck, just, ah.
Besides simply dying to make my own version of this dress- everything from the colour to the shape to the tiny little shimmering butterflies I am hopelessly smitten for- I am really eager to make a note of these examples as ‘illusion techniques’ for the future and implement them in appropriate future designs. Perhaps it’s time to look into magicians’ codes?! ;D
And I think it’s time I actually read up on all previous century garments.
Happy dreaming everyone ^_^ ❤
http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/07/23/here-is-the-blog-of-the-game-of-thrones-costume-maker/ (really interesting blog post about the secret plotlines behind costumes in GoT; I don’t watch it but the links are still there!)