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Just a little change
By shoomlah   |   Watch
2K 99 54K (9 Today)
Published: March 31, 2016
© 2016 - 2019 shoomlah

And a bit alarming by shoomlah

So it’s been five years to the day since I started my historical (or, well, historical-ish) Disney princesses series.  I have no idea how it’s been this long – I feel like I drew some of these yesterday – but it seemed as good an opportunity as any to revisit Belle now that I’m five years older and wiser.  And now that I’m way more into the 1780’s/90’s.

I drew that original Belle on a whim, fueled by my sister’s time working as a costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, and assuming it would be a one-off piece.  In the long run, despite all their now egregious flaws, I owe this series for some pretty cool jobs, meeting a ton of cool people, developing an unexpectedly voracious appetite for historical fashion, and eating a fair amount of humble pie along the way.

I think this Belle probably marks the swan song of my historical Disney princess series.  Much as I’d love to continue doing it forever, I’ve got a lot of exciting personal projects that I’m ready to dedicate more of my precious free time to. I’ll probably continue designing this stuff in my off hours – who am I to resist drawing the likes of Slue Foot Sue and Katrina Von Tassel – but I’m going to focus less on polished illustrations, and more on the research and design.  When you get right down to it, that’s the aspect of this stuff that I love. :)

Thanks to everyone who stuck with me over the past five years, and here’s to way more historical fashion in the years to come  I can’t even put into words how lovely y’all’ve been. 

Just a little change. Small, to say the least.


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asimplejen's avatar
asimplejenHobbyist Artisan Crafter
  Your original design inspired me and my partner to do costumes a few years ago for DragonCon and it's still one of my favorites - I'm so excited to see your updated version! Thank you for the inspiration!  Historically Accurate Beauty and the Beast by asimplejen
shoomlah's avatar
shoomlahProfessional Digital Artist
Omigosh, you both look amazing!! So delighted to have been even part of the inspiration for your design :D
RaindropCosplay's avatar
RaindropCosplayHobbyist Artisan Crafter
Stunning!!! Can I ask if you take commissions at all? I have 4 ideas of different characters I would love to do in the Rococo fashion but I fail at design and would love to work with you if possible!
shoomlah's avatar
shoomlahProfessional Digital Artist
I'm not, sorry! I list my commission status on my main page (and in my tag line).
WhenTheTitleCalls's avatar
You never cease to be amazing!
moonlitinuyasha1985's avatar
Mercy. I do believe Mademoiselle Belle's gown is just divine~! :love:

And my goodness, five years? :omg:

One of my aesthetics is seeing the Disney Heroines/Princesses in historically accurate dresses. +~*F2U*~+ Pink Heart Pixel

It would be nice if you updated your other Historical Disney Princess drawings, but I respect you wanting to pursue other projects. :)

And again, Belle looks enchanting. Just incredibly enchanting. Lovely Shoujo Emoji (Sho lovely) [V2]
veronarmon's avatar
veronarmonHobbyist Traditional Artist
Such a gorgeous pannier dress
walkerelaine's avatar
walkerelaineHobbyist Traditional Artist
It's really like Marie Antoinette from the French Revolution!rainbow heart rainbow heart rainbow heart rainbow heart 
Quander's avatar
This is how I imagined Belle would look if the film had been more historically accurate. Also, Now I want the drawing to sing "A Change in Me" from the Beauty and the Beast musical.
JASDragon's avatar
Oh you have no idea how much my historical French heart LEAPT at seeing this! And I love all the others too! Historical fashion is definitely one of my favorite things!
Lazulina's avatar
LazulinaProfessional Interface Designer
So this is what Disney has come up with for their live action version for the yellow dress.  Not nearly as elegant as the original animated one, and it seems like they didn't take the time to research the era-appropriate clothing either.

Dress1 by Lazulina  
AriaCouture's avatar
AriaCoutureProfessional Artist
Oh, they researched, all right.  The other costumes were almost 100% spot-on to the exact decade.  But Emma had creative control, and so the costumer worked to make this EMMA'S vision of Belle.  Emma has no idea about fashion in that era, nor the fictional, protective role of corsets--they were not intended to make the waist tiny in an era when having some meat on one's bones meant having enough to eat, and so was more desirable than being stick-thin.  The corset-ban was her at her insistence, all the changes to Belle that show her gross misunderstanding of life in the era, etc.

While this dress is pretty in its own right (though why not at least embroider it or use crystals?--they don't weigh this gown down, which I know because I did it), it's not Belle, and it's jarring to see so modern of a gown in a movie very firmly placed toward the end of the 1730's when the rest of the costumes were as accurate as they were.
ToruKun1's avatar
ToruKun1Student Traditional Artist
ACKSHUALLY, Disney gave Emma Watson full creative control over how the dress looked, and THAT'S what she came up with. Goddamn disgraceful...
Seillinia's avatar
Thats actually not true, did you read that on a whiny fashion blog and not the actual interview? Emma Had input into how she wanted the dress to be breathable and moveable but she didn't create the design herself. Did you read the actual interview?…

"I read in Entertainment Weekly that you worked with Emma Watson to develop Belle’s yellow gown and that being active was an important part of the design. How did you incorporate design elements to allow for the physicality?

[Watson and I] did try a lot of things because it was about how Belle is represented as a princess. So is it like the animation or do we try something else? We did try going in the direction of a historical 18th-century dress, and we tried going in the direction of something more modern, as a reinterpretation of an 18th-century dress. In fact, in the end it, came back to being closer to animation. 

But what we did with that silhouette was to try and give it a lightness and a fluidity and very little structure, so that Emma didn’t feel inhibited or trapped by it. That it was as light as it could possibly be, but at the same time had enough movement to work for the gown. It’s very wearable and it doesn’t have such a big skirt or have things that makes it impossible to imagine.

What was it like working with Emma on that dress?

It was very good. It was quite tricky, because she was working so hard to create a strong, individual, modern, emancipated kind of Belle. But at the same time, there are elements in which the yellow dress works against that in a sense of being a pretty, princess-y kind of dress. So to try and find balance and try an a yellow dress [that would] work for the new Belle that we’re creating was difficult and interesting. I think that we arrived at the end by making it quite simple and something that she felt she could really move in and be active in.

In terms of the costumes, how was it for you to be a part of this more sophisticated and almost politicized update?

It was good! Yeah, it was just [determining] what elements the dress needed to have in order to help Emma be her version of Belle." It was certain it shouldn’t have a corset. It was certain it should be something she should move in. It should certainly be not too heavy, but it should still have movement and everything and be beautiful for the ball.

So if you're going to blame someone, blame the costume department on this. Duran thought she had been clever with the "tacky" elements.

Also, it’s fantasy, not a true historical drama (that's what this whole series is about), and I'd say anyone has a right to be comfortable while shooting all day. The physical comfort of an actual person > “historical accuracy” when it’s not even an actual historical story. This would be a different scenario if it was fantasy but it's not. 

Lazulina's avatar
LazulinaProfessional Interface Designer
Yume-Inc's avatar
I agree in that the new dress definitely isn't my favorite for Belle's ballgown, but that image doesn't do the dress any favors. You can find some better images of it here.
SeerWalker's avatar
ahhhh yes this is much better! as lovely as your old pic is, this is much more accurate. and I love a good robe à la française!
ksj7700's avatar
ksj7700Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Omggg!! This is so pretty! I wish the live action version's dress looked this good!
amie21's avatar
It's wonderful that you have dived back into the wonderful artwork of historical dress for the princesses, I hope you continue to do some more, maybe Anna, but I would love if you revisited sleeping beauty, absolutely stunning x x x
shoomlah's avatar
shoomlahProfessional Digital Artist
As per the description, I'm not planning on continuing this series!
amie21's avatar
It's a shame 😊 x
ValdarianSeries's avatar
ValdarianSeriesStudent Writer
Hurray more Belle!
ImogeneBlackwater's avatar
I am so stunningly impressed. I've always loved your series, and as someone who is a Disney fan comboed with being a huge history fanatic they're fun to share with my friends and new cosplayers. I adored your original Belle, but did notice she was probably the most loosely interpreted of your series. Honestly though, even the Disney dress was loosely interpreted and leaned heavily on mid 1800s British ball gown styles. Still, she was the first, my favorite Princess of the pre-1995 films, and extremely beautiful. I like that you've come back full circle to do your 'swan song' with a new and extremely historically spot on Belle. The funny thing is, I'm pretty comfortable with a number of French/British paintings so I can actually see which portions of the dress were inspired by these paintings which I find wonderfully fun! You've even given her that regal, sultry, sleepy-eyed look that was so prevalent in the French court portraits! I do love though that you gave her cloth (I'm assuming, with royals you never know) roses instead of simply bows, it's a detail like that that I think really shows your personal aesthetic. Basically, both of your Belles are amazing and I admire you greatly for all of the work and research you've put into your whole series. :)
anonymous's avatar
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