3 Modern Spins on Belle's Looks in Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Having grown up with Disney's original Beauty and the Beast, I was ecstatically looking forward to the new live-action film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Michael surprised me with special tickets to the Thursday night release at the fancy theater - the one with seats that recline and there's a 0% chance of some kid kicking the back of your seat. I loved every minute of the new adaptation; Emma Watson was simply magical in her role as Belle, and Dan Stevens was a compelling Beast.

I felt the new release stayed true to all the important tenets of the original that made it special, like an exemplary cast for the enchanted objects of the house and great musical numbers (Stevens in particular impressed me with his vocals), while deviating from the original in purposeful ways like Watson's refusal to wear a corset for any portion of the film, or LaFou's  implied homosexuality at the very end of the movie during the last musical sequence when he, happily, dances with another man. The film itself is visually beautiful - set in 18th century France in the fictional village of Villeneuve, the movie featured gorgeous re-imagined scenes from the original, like the ballroom scene, or the infamous "Be Our Guest" musical number.

Set designers far exceeded my expectations for the enchanted forest, castle, and "Provencal life" of Belle's small town, but what I appreciated the most was Jacqueline Durran's impeccable costume design and wardrobe for the cast and film. Costumes remained true in essence to the 18th century period they were set in, but like the film, deviated in striking ways. Durran's re-imagined looks for Belle best exemplify this. For starter's, take Belle's casual village garb: 

 Featuring extra large pockets on the outside of her dress for easy access, and pantaloons under her skirt so she can move about easily, Belle's dress perfectly suits her "peculiar" personality - which we all know is code for 'magical' and all its synonyms. Durran also worked to create as many sustainable and Eco-friendly pieces as possible for Belle and other cast members costumes, committing to a level of excellence beyond what is visual appealing. 

Inspired by Belle's looks from the original film, I set out to re-create three of her looks with modern, contemporary spins. 

Like Durran, I wanted my project to align with my efforts to create new looks from second-hand, thrift store bought pieces that would fit my budget, but allow me to experiment and play. 

1. Villeneuve chic 

Belle in her small, Provencal, town of Villeneuve. Sure it's fictional, but that doesn't take away from its beauty, or Belle's casual-chic ensemble. What defines this look for me are the colors of Belle's crisp white blouse and blue dress with the autumnal colors of her village town.  When attempting to re-create this look, I wanted to focus on finding a piece that would play off the subtle Peter Pan collar from the original, and Belle's soft makeup and pink lip.  

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 I found the top and skirt at a local second-hand shop called the Pink Rhino which I love to frequent for their awesome vintage pieces. They also accept certain clothes for credit, which is how I purchased these two pieces for my first look. In cash, the look would have cost me a total of $10 - a steal.

2. Playful in Pink

Feeling playful during a snowy excursion to the Castle's grounds, Belle catapults a snowball aimed directly at Beast that lands her a rare smile, and works to soften his gruff exterior. Wrapped in soft shades of pink and burgundy, I wanted to pull from Belle's playful demeanor and the structure of her corset top and skirt for my recreation. 

 I purchased all my pieces for this look at Thriftown in Albuquerque, except for the shoes, which are total showstopping vintage perfection, purchased at the Pink Rhino for $20. In total, this look cost me $35 - including this amazing bauble ring.  I love the cheeky mid-cut top showing a peek of skin with this structured pencil skirt. It also has great pockets for holding pens and spare bits, which I love. 

 3. Bibliophile  

 My favorite scene in the original and one of my top favorite scenes from the new adaptation: when Beast gives Belle the library. This look is all about the soft pastel blues, ornate gold fixtures and angular seams on Belle's gown. For my take, I pulled heavily on the idea of having angular pieces in soft pastel hues. 

 I am in love with the blouse I found at the Animal Humane Society thrift store on Menaul - one of my favorites. Organized by hues of color, it was easy to find the pastel green I was looking for, and scored with this blouse with French cuffs and a stiff collar. The skirt was a more expensive find from Buffalo Exchange - but it's White House Black Market and worth the $20 I shelled out for it. The best feature of this look are the ornate cuff-links from my bestie Natalie, gifted to my husband for Christmas last year. Stolen for this look, the links capture the decorative library in Beast's castle, while the skirt and blouse capture the angular feel I wanted from Belle's original gown. In total, this look cost me $30. 

 I hope you enjoyed these looks as much I did putting them together. Stay tuned next Monday the 27th for my last Beauty and the Beast themed feature: a review of Albuquerque's Ivy Tea Room's "Be Our Guest" themed tea-party! 

Erin E BarrioComment