It’s Easter holiday time, and after my absolutely manic last few weeks, I decided to take a break and go to London for a few days.
While I was there, I stumbled across the Cinderella exhibition in Leicester Square, and then, after very excitedly joining the queue, I found I was more excited than some of the under tens around me! I felt my excitement was entirely justified because inside that building were the costumes by Sandy Powell!
The exhibition was fabulous (and free, added bonus for student pockets). The first room featured 1950s concept artwork for the animation, and it was fascinating to see how much changed between the concept art and the final animation. Then we moved into Ella’s house, where the stepmother and sisters dresses were displayed. Lady Tremaine’s dress was absolutely stunning. The skirt was particularly interesting as it is a (velvety looking) long pencil skirt with a 1950s style overskirt. The overskirt was green, with a black floral overlay, giving that classy sinister look. I think I was a bit too keen, I asked the tourguide if he knew what the skirt was made of and he just looked at me strangely. Anna wandered away after that, I think she was a bit embarrassed! Haha. Hat was huge. Stepsisters dresses were suitably gaudy with little puff sleeves.
And the ballroom! And the balldresses! ARGH! SO EXCITED! Still am, and I went last week! I took it upon myself to explain to a family I had befriended how the skirt had been made, and I think the little girls were interested to start off with… but the grandma was lovely and listened to me whittering on about 5 versions, and corsets and layers upon layers of painted silk to make up the floaty skirt.
As amazing as it was seeing Mannequin Cinderella and Kit on a revolving platform stuck in an eternal spin, the foreign princess dresses were equally as stunning! So much work went into each of them, even if they were only seen briefly while curtsying on the stairs to the King. It was easy to see which culture the princesses where representing, and fascinating to see how specific cultural elements had been incorporated into Western ballgown styles. I wish I could have gotten closer to see how those dresses were structured, but you couldn’t get round the back of the ballroom! What I did see of the Princess Chelina’s ballgown (in the exhibition and in the movie) it was stunning!
That evening, rather than going to the West End and seeing another Show, Anna and I bought tickets to see Cinderella in Leicester Square. First a little about the cinema. IT IS HUGE. I swear, you could fit all 11 of the cinema screens in the small town cinema where I live, into this one room. THERE WAS A BALCONY LEVEL! And some guy came out and introduced the movie! OMG.
Cinderella was absolutely magical! I loved every second of it, and I enjoyed the new take on the storyline. The Stepmother and the Grand Duke’s conspiring together was excellent and even if Ella and Kit were a little sappy, its a fairytale and anything less would have been disappointing! Little cameo by Rob Bydron was hilarious. Loved the Captain of the guards and I believe there was even a little nod to Shakespeare in one of his lines! Extra love there then!
And, I have to just give a little heartfelt appreciation of Helena Bohamn Carter as the fairy godmother! She was absolutely incredible, looked amazing and was quite hilarious. I loved how she played the dizzy fairy godmother, and she was right, the wings really did add to the whole glittery ensemble that was her costume, rather than taking away from it!
In my opinion, Kenneth Brannagh managed to stick amazingly well to the original storyline while making it a little more of a story with conspiring politicians and stepmothers. Although, there was one bit I pulled a face at for practicalities sake – when Ella gets out of her (extremely gilded) pumpkin, wearing five inch glass heels, she is faced with at least five flights of stairs. In all honesty, I would look at that staircase, pull a face, and say ‘nope, not in these shoes!’ whereupon I would risk my stockings and walk barefoot. That bit was a little sugary sweet idealism in my opinion, but it was awesome watching her come down that staircase! (Again, I’d have removed my shoes before attempting to run down).
Basically, I love fairytales, I love the romance, and the story, and the costumes in this were fantastic! I want to be Sandy Powell, or at least meet her! I can’t wait to find out who will be costuming the live action Beauty and the Beast.
Have courage, and be kind!