Monday, April 18, 2011

A Historically Accurate Look at Princesses?

I came across Deviantartist Claire Hummel today. Using historic costume/fashion as a base, she created digital reproductions of four popular princesses. I'll be keeping up with her profile, perhaps there will be more.
I have also included her commentary for each image.

Find her here.

"I can't explain it, but reinterpreting Disney princess outfits through a more historically accurate lens really, really appeals to me. Beauty and the Beast has always hovered hesitantly in the late 18th century (especially in the earlier concept art), so I redid Belle's gold dress to match 1770's French court fashion."

"Continuing my historically accurate Disney princesses! It makes me happy.

The Little Mermaid is hard to place from a time period standpoint- Grimsby's wearing a Georgian getup, Ariel's pink dress with the slashed sleeves subscribes to several eras from the Renaissance to the 1840's, Eric is... Eric.

I went with Ariel's wedding dress as a starting point since those gigantic leg-o-mutton sleeves (so embarrassingly popular in eighties wedding fashion) were a great starting point for an 1890's evening gown. It's also not unfeasible that Eric's cropped tailcoat could be from the same era, so I'm sticking with my choice. PLUS Ariel with Gibson girl hair? COME ON IT IS AWESOME.

I'm still not sure if I'd try to squeeze her pink dress in the same time period or if I'd just throw up my hands and draw it with a hoop skirt, but we'll see."

"Honestly? I just wanted to draw those damn slashed sleeves. I want them SO BAD.

Unlike the aforementioned Little Mermaid, Snow White's time period is pretty easy to pinpoint in 16th century Germany. Not that the film is accurate, but the clues are there- I took a wide swath from about 1500-1530 to come up with something that still maintained the spirit of the original design."

"Okay, these are getting more and more complicated, but this one was fun.

Let's be frank- Aladdin is hardly an exercise in historical accuracy. Combine that with Claire knowing veeeery little about pre-Islamic Middle Eastern clothing before starting on Jasmine, and you've got yourself a few days of research before digging into this thing.

It took some effort to track down some midriff-baring outfits but BY GEORGE I DID, thank you Persian fashion plates. I now know what sirwal are called (besides Hammer pants), and that Persian women wore some pretty sweet little jackets that I wish I owned."

I must say. I like her idea and I feel there is something here, but at the same time, after Sunanda's class especially, seeing her portrayal of Jasmine is a bit jarring.
I am interested to know more about her research specifically and how she decided to match each princess with a time period. Did she use context clues from the films?

I would also really like to see these as photographs or oil paintings. Or even the gowns recreated in 3D. I feel like the cartoon-esque portrayal detracts from the purpose.

1 comment:

Amber said...

I am interested in the idea but personally I agree that they are too cartoonish-- they look like knock offs of the Disney characters and the focus is drawn away from the historically accurate clothing. Of course that begs the question of whether they would be recognizable as "the princesses" if they weren't cartoons. Maybe if they were stylized oil paintings or figurines. I am also curious about pinpointing time periods-- she must know a lot about fashion design history. I would think Ariel would be the hardest one.