What If Disney Princesses Were Historically Accurate?

Will we ever tire of artists' alternative renditions of Disney princesses? So far, there is no end in sight. The latest twist on your favorite classic animations has Disney ladies in historically accurate regalia, as drawn with Photoshop by Deviant Art user Shoomlah (also known as Claire Hummel).
She dug back through old photos and illustrations to research just what these princesses would've worn in reality. The result is a happy marriage of slightly altered, elaborated ensembles that still recall the costumes Disney designed. Of course, some of this is undoubtedly too detailed for the Disney style of animation to ever truly adopt, but it's still quite fascinating. A real treat for the nerds in the room!
Hit the slideshow to see more, including commentary from Hummel herself. Then, check out her Deviant Art page and FAQ for extra goodness and even more on the process!
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"Beauty and the Beast has always hovered hesitantly in the late 18th century (especially in the earlier concept art), so I redid Belle's gold dress to match 1770's French court fashion...[I know] above-the-elbow gloves weren't really in fashion until the early 1800's but [I'm] running with it anyway."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
Note: Hummel created this updated image of Pocahontas to address criticisms of her first design. "Spunky, age-appropriate Pocahontas/Matoaka, sans feathers in the hair/European imagery/other superfluous details. This is closer to accounts and illustrations of Powhatan dress from the period, and I kinda think it's closer to the Disney design anyway. WIN/WIN."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"The Little Mermaid is hard to place from a time period standpoint — Grimsby's wearing a Georgian getup, Ariel's pink dress with the slashed sleeves subscribes to several eras from the Renaissance to the 1840's, Eric is... Eric.

I went with Ariel's wedding dress as a starting point since those gigantic mutton sleeves (so embarrassingly popular in 80s wedding fashion) were a great starting point for an 1890s evening gown. It's also not unfeasible that Eric's cropped tailcoat could be from the same era, so I'm sticking with my choice. Plus, Ariel with Gibson girl hair? COME ON, IT IS AWESOME."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"Unlike the aforementioned Little Mermaid, Snow White's time period is pretty easy to pinpoint in 16th century Germany. Not that the film is accurate, but the clues are there — I took a wide swath from about 1500-1530 to come up with something that still maintained the spirit of the original design."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"It's not that I didn't want to do Mulan (she's fantastic so far as the Disney 'princesses' go), but pinning down her time period stopped being fun and rapidly became a headache — you have the original legend taking place in the Wei Dynasty, the Huns as an actual threat during the Western Han Dynasty, the Forbidden City of the Ming Dynasty...

On that note, I'll be the first to admit that this piece isn't tying Mulan down to a particular period, rather putting her in plausible historical textiles and hanfu. When I was asking around for references, most of the stuff sent my way was from Chinese period films or other modern recreations, so I just threw up my hands and decided to have fun with it.

It's based on Mulan's finale/epilogue costume at the end of the film; she never seemed at home in either the matchmaker costume or the armor, so this seemed like the best 'Mulan has come into her own' middle ground."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"I went with the mid 1860s for Cinderella's dress, the transitory period where the cage crinoline takes on a more elliptical shape and moves towards the back. Not that it accounts for Lady Tremaine's sweet 1890s getup, but it's also not unheard of to see it worn alongside Anastasia and Drizella's early bustle dresses. It's also worth noting that it was made by a fairy godmother, so it makes sense that her tastes would be a little behind the times."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"So, Prince Philip does specifically and emphatically say 'this is the 14th century!' at some point during the film, but Philip's an idiot (a handsome, handsome idiot) and I, never afraid to ignore source material, ignored him.

Oddly enough, Philip's clothing is a better point of reference than Aurora's (since the hourglass, off-the-shoulder cut of her dress is straight out of the 1950's), and there are far more examples of his getup from the 1460s onward than in the 14th century. I went with my gut and ended up with something around 1485 — a little later than one might expect, but it's such a (beautifully) stylized film that all bets are off."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"God, I love dagged sleeves. Almost as much as I love slashed ones. I just want to dag and slash everything I can get my hands on.

I've wanted Maleficent to be the first villain in the series for a while now, ever since I made the mental leap between Maleficent's horns and 15th century horned hennins. The time period works out pretty well, actually, since I wanted her to look a little more dated than Aurora's 1480's getup — both houppelandes and horned hennins were all the rage during the early-to-mid 1400s, and they make for pretty good analogues to her official costuming. Sexy stuff.

This proves more than any of the previous pieces that these are adaptations, not improvements. I mean, look at the original Maleficent design — how does one improve on perfection?"
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"I've been crazy excited to do Tiana — she's not my favourite princess, but I started researching her dress in the very early stages of this project and got pretty hyped up about it.

Most of the dresses in The Princess and the Frog do have some historical basis (lots of dropped waists and slinky chemises), so I thought it would be fun to tackle Tiana's magic-kiss-swamp-frog-something gown during the climax of the film. It's the one dress that's clearly meant to just be a standalone 'princess' dress, but I liked the idea of a challenge and decided to drag it kicking and screaming back into the 20s.

I based the dress on Lanvin's Robes de style, which were — unlike the flapper dresses most people associate with the Jazz Age — fitted in the bodice with a wide, panniered skirt. The Robe de style was considered a relatively conservative dress choice, so you probably wouldn't have seen a hem hiked up this high, but COME ON, HOW OFTEN DO I GET TO DRAW THEIR LEGS? Not often enough, I'll tell you that."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
"I adore Tangled for many reasons, but historical accuracy isn't one of them. It's actually the first Disney film that feels entirely set in its own fantasy world, with no real ties to any particular time period or setting — unless you count that ever-forgiving time period of "Ren Faire."

Since this is the last one in the series (so far as official princesses go), I thought I'd treat myself and just have fun with it. I drew up concepts for both the 16th century (the slashed sleeves) and 18th (Keane's initial inspiration), but in the interest of choosing a time period I hadn't touched yet, I ended up going with the late Regency. There are a ton of gowns circa 1820 that have those inimitably princessy sleeves, and those palace guards aren't fooling anyone."
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Image: Courtesy of Claire Hummel.
Maid Marian of Robin Hood — this one was an April Fool's joke, Hummel confirms on her site.

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