Curious about the inspirations behind the Costume Design for Beauty and the Beast? We asked Ivania Stack, Costume Designer, to talks us through the inspiration behind her designs and Belle's journey throughout her costume design.
The Village LookImage credit
Ivania Stack: I’d seen images of Jade Jones in the past in jumpsuits, and she looks amazing in them! But also, in my research, I found some illustrations of characters of color adventuring and hiking, and I found those stories really inspirational. When you come to meet Belle, she’s a person who goes for long walks and reads a lot, her Dad is this eccentric inventor, and I thought she needs to carry stuff with her and be ready for anything. She’s on the move! I didn’t just want to put her in a dress. Especially because the townspeople talk about how she’s a little different than the other girls in town. I liked the idea of her being free to move and free to walk around the fields and the forests and that’s how I came to this jumpsuit idea. A piece of clothing that is practical, but there’s sort of a nod to the original Disney silhouette in the way the top is designed and that classic blue color, but everything else is a little bit funky and different. And I think it suits our Belle really well, who brings a lot to the character and I want to play into that as a designer.
The Pink DressImage credit
Ivania Stack: In the story, a character says to the Beast: “Compliment her dress!” and he says, “It’s pink!” So we thought, this dress comes from Madame de la Grande Bouche’s wardrobe so it’s something pink, maybe it was a costume from an opera, maybe it was something left over by a previous resident of the palace. When it’s given to Belle, it’s not a great fit in terms of personality. It’s just something to try, and she’s willing to try it. But it’s not her style, it’s definitely someone else’s style and it was given to her to put on. So it was really fun to design because we’re seeing the character in something they may not necessarily love, but they’re okay with trying it. So the color is a nutty pink color, and it’s a little renaissance-like because it’s from an opera set in the renaissance era. But later on, we get to see Belle in options that she can identify with a bit more. So, first we see her in something she isn’t super interested in, and then she comes into her own through the costumes. The dress is more a reflection of Madame’s style than anything else!
The Ball GownImage credit
Ivania Stack: For the ball gown, I went through a lot of different ideas and research. I was looking at some more contemporary, avant garde evening gowns and thought that it may also be a jumpsuit at one point. But ultimately, I liked the idea of her being in a really princess-like ball gown because I like to tell the story that people present all different ways, but they can pick and choose how they want to present on a different day. People who normally wear a jumpsuit sometimes wear a ball gown! And that’s okay -- they look gorgeous in both the jumpsuit and the ball gown! We have fancy days and not fancy days. We can pick and choose how feminine or not feminine we want to be. I wanted to show that our Belle, our jumpsuit Belle, also gets to wear the princess dress. She also gets to be elegant and glamorous. So this dress would have definitely come from Madame’s wardrobe as well, but this dress is a little more magical. There’s a little magic to this dress in the sense that it fits Belle perfectly and suits her personality. It plays into the romance and the magic of the moment. One of the things that is included on the gown is appliques of roses that climb over the bodice of the dress and that’s a nod to the recurring theme of the roses. The rose window, the rose that the Beast rejects from the Beggar Woman, and the rose as a symbol of time running out. So I see it as another symbol related to her because Belle is alive and vital and growing. The reason why it’s purple instead of gold, is because in all the gowns I was looking at I got excited about having a little more color. I thought that would look really great on Jade too. There’s still a lot of gold with the purple, but we’re using this color that’s in between the blue of Belle and the red of the Beast to really make Jade pop.