Belle is my favorite Princess for very obvious reasons. I relate with the fact that:
- She loves to read.
- She can multitask while reading.
- She longs for adventure in the great wide somewhere.
- She doesn’t settle for handsome narcissistic jerks like Gaston.
- She falls in love with a person’s heart and mind, not what they look like.
- She would do anything for the people that she loves.
- She’s a daddy’s girl.
- Sometimes she’d rather be alone than in a village full of people who don’t understand her.
- She puts strength and faith in what she believes in.
- She isn’t afraid of standing up for herself and for those who need standing up for.
So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I wanted to put on that blue provincial dress and read, and ride horses, and frolic through a field while singing about adventure. Or that I wanted to dance and twirl to “Tale as Old as Time” in that classic yellow gown. Why I chose the live action versions though? Well for one thing, the animated looks – though gorgeous, don’t really look good on a real person. (I know because Belle’s animated blue and white dress was the first dress I learned to use a sewing machine on. Though it was fun to make and wear, it looked flat and plain on me.) And for another, I felt that the 2017 costumes looked much more like something I would actually wear in real life.
Though I feel like the live action version of Beauty and the Beast didn’t fully capture why I fell in love with the story in the first place, I thought it was a beautifully crafted film nonetheless. Emma Watson’s Belle lacked the excitement, inquisitiveness, and charm (and let’s face it, singing voice) of the original, but the magic and nostalgia of the film itself still made me grab those tissues at the end. I won’t do a full review – or maybe I will in another post (we’ll see), so all I’ll say is this: Here were the dresses, the hair, and the makeup that I could actually feel comfortable and myself in handed to me on a silver platter (or you know, on a singing dish). So I knew after watching it the first time, that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be my favorite princess.
Provincial Belle was definitely my favorite costume. It reminded me of Aragorn’s (Strider’s) in the sense that it looked like Belle would grab whatever fabric she could find to make/repair her dress, and altered it to fit her needs perfectly. That was the fun part of sewing it too. Gathering whatever fabric I already had to come up with the dress made me think that that’s probably what Belle did herself.
She even had her skirt hitched for horse back riding, and pockets for books and bread – I mean, who wouldn’t love a pocket for bread?? (And yes, I used dish towels for those) The mix of different prints and shades of blue, white, and red fit so perfectly together as well. Talk about ogranized chaos.
When I saw the initial photos for this dress before the movie came out I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Being a big fan of the original, I was skeptical of any dress that didn’t relate to the animated version. But when I saw it on the big screen I couldn’t help but sigh and smile. Belle’s Celebration dress was so beautifully light and airy and whimsical. And the baby’s breath in her hair was the perfect icing to this beautiful cake.
Because I had such a hard time finding the right fabric, I ended up experimenting with textile paint and making the fabric myself. I used a light chiffon to make sure it kept the dress light and flowy.
Then I added the silk flowers to create the gorgeous 3D effect I fell in love with in the movie, and I put sparkly tulle and sequins underneath to really make the dress glow and reflect light on the face. And the tea length skirt provided just the right touch of elegance to this sunny garden design.
Though I was disappointed with her yellow gown at first, it grew on me the longer I watched her move in it. I just wish it looked as good standing still as it does while dancing – which I feel would be solved if it was a bit longer and pouffier. Still not my favorite dress, but I wasn’t about to skip Belle’s most iconic gown.
The three tiered ruffle does move magically though. I couldn’t stop twirling in it.
Doesn’t this gate make you want to sing “Evermore’?
Love the accessories as well. The gold leaves in the hair, the earcuff, the pinky ring, and the rosetree necklace accented the modern cut of the dress perfectly. If you look at the photos closely, I made sure I had all of them.
And I have to say, yellow is starting to become one of my favorite colors. It’s just so bright and happy and beautiful. And to be honest, I put on this skirt and danced “Tale as Old as Time” in it more times than I’d like to admit.
“Think of the one place that you’ve always wanted to see.
Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart.”
So there they are. My three favorite looks from the movie. Not a fan of her capes because I like my capes long and flowy, (LOTR’s influence) so I’ve pretty much done all the costumes I love. They’re not exact replicas, since I don’t really consider myself a cosplayer. But I’m quite proud of them just the same. Being able to walk, and run, and dance through such a magical place in my Belle costumes was a dream come true. And with that,
“Nature points the way
Nothing left to say
Beauty and the Beast”