Beauty & the Beast mania has officially swept the world, with everyone from Juicy Couture to Uniqlo hoping to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the forthcoming film's release. On Monday, London-based designer Christopher Kane unveiled his limited-edition capsule collection of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear pieces and accessories, inspired by the movie. But, this is not a selection of cutesy, cheap-and-cheerful merchandise (for that, head to Primark, which is swiftly selling out of a Chip purse that's going for nearly seven times the price on eBay). Instead, this is a beautifully crafted, premium offering fit for, well, a 2017 princess.
Having watched Disney’s tale-as-old-as-time from a young age, Kane wanted to create a modern-day interpretation of (and wardrobe for) the strong, heroic female character. "I have loved Disney since my childhood and all of the classics, of which Beauty and the Beast is one," the designer tells Refinery29. "I was a huge cartoon snob...I would only watch Disney. They just always resonated with me. The script, the films, the colors...and I think nostalgia is always a good thing. Looking back, I mean, we grew up in the '90s, how fun was that?"
The collection, which hits stores and online March 16, brings to life the classic story with pieces in shades of gold and fairy blue, taken from the Beast’s castle interiors, and of course, the bold red of the enchanted rose. A central element in the film, the rose was a key inspiration for the collection and was developed into a photographic organza appliqué on tulle, reappearing on an all-over lace dress, in beautiful embroidery, and printed onto T-shirts, as well as the brand’s signature lenticular clutch bag.
"As a designer, I've always used flowers, and science and nature have always been a huge influence, but I think we went to a very dark place with the rose [in this collection], and obviously it's one of the biggest icons, it's symbolic of the love between Belle and the Beast," he says. "But it's not over-the-top, it's not too princess-y, which I think everyone was expecting. The fact is, Belle wasn't a princess, she's a normal woman with huge aspirations, which I always thought was so attractive about the film."
For the first time, Disney and Kane have collaborated with sustainable brand consultancy Eco-Age, founded by Livia Firth, showing the marriage of ethics and aesthetics is possible, and encouraging brands to evaluate their supply chains and choices of materials. Given Disney’s strong commitment to transparency, ethical sourcing, and protecting the planet, Eco-Age’s Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) was the perfect fit. It also makes sense given how committed the film's lead, Emma Watson, is so to ethical and sustainable fashion choices.