C18th Belle – Part 1

This ongoing project combines two ideas I have had, involving disney and history.

My favourite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast, it always has been and likely always will!
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The original fairytale featured a wealthy merchant who lost all his money, being forced to live as a pauper with his three daughters. I liked it because neither the main characters are royalty (once I was old enough to appreciate that the disney version wasn’t the only version that is) and because Belle is a genuinely nice person who is trying to protect her family (I may argue like cat and dog with my siblings, but woe betide anyone who threatens or upsets them).

The original I like was first written in the 1740’s by french Madame de Villeneuve (although, there is some disagreement about who actually wrote the tale down first).  So I decided to try and make a circa 18th Century dress, inspired by the fairytale I love so dearly. I can’t imagine Belle having ever held much stock with following court fashions, so that (thankfully) ruled out those inconveniently huge panniered skirts a la Marie Antoinette. However, I have decided that I really want to try my hand at a historically inspired gown.

I mainly researched through pinterest, here’s the link to my board: projects. However, I also used my ‘Fashion’ and costume throughout the years book, and a costume book to research the different dress styles across the century. I liked the Mantura, or the robe l’anglaise more than the sack-back dresses styles that characterised the later half of the time period.

This project is also Sketchbook related as I explore the different styles of dresses to build up my own costume (and if Mrs Potts, Chip and Lumiere happen to make an appearance, I know nothing about that!)

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WP_20150907_20_19_00_ProWP_20150907_20_18_41_ProI am fully aware that my tiny little university room is not wide enough for me to keep a ballgown any wider than my mannequin on for any length of time, so now I have moved to my new accomodation, and have s very large floor, I can finally get started! (I totally did not walk in, see the size of the floor and claim the room. Nope. Not me).

I bought the fabric today, for the gold overdress. I picked up 1.5m of the patterned fabric at a carboot sale, which unfortunately is not nearly enough to make the entire gown! So I also purchased some gold satin, polyester boning, and dress lining. Although, I forgot to pick up anything that could do for a chemise.

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I am very excited about this project!! I’ve had it swirling around in my head for months, but I am finally, actually getting round to making it!!

Bea

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