Emma Watson’s Belle Dress Is Going To Be Different — Here’s Why

Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images.
When we first heard about the upcoming live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, one of our first questions was: What will The Dress — you know, that iconic yellow gown Belle dances in as Mrs. Potts serenades her and Beast to the tune of "Beauty and the Beast" — look like? The 1991 animated film inspired many a childhood costume (and maybe even a red-carpet gown) or two, so we were eager to imagine the real-life version. Now that we've gotten our first official look at Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in character, costume designer Jacqueline Durran shares some important details about The Dress — and how it's definitely not made for a passive princess. Durran, who has won Academy Awards for her work on Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice, revealed her take on Belle's golden gown this week in Entertainment Weekly. In the interview, the British costumer divulges more details of how the frock was made.
Photo: Courtesy of Disney.
Firstly, it's made from satin organza in a camera-tested shade of yellow, printed with gold leaf and glitter. The gown features a net layering around the bodice meant to mimic the look of feathers Watson's Belle wears in her hair. One thing you won't find in the construction of the gown? A corset. "For Emma, it was important that the dress was light and that it had a lot of movement," Durran told Entertainment Weekly. "In Emma’s reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess. She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way." Even the heeled, 18th-century style shoes Belle wears are designed so the character won't be slowed down by any part of her ensemble. We wouldn't expect anything less from the #HeForShe advocate and U.N. Global Goodwill Ambassador, who also revealed that her characterization of Belle sees her as an inventor, rather than a person with, presumably, no profession but a love of reading. Watson worked closely with Durran on the dress' design, which is the defining Belle costume in the original animated film as well as a pivotal part of the romantic plot line in Beauty and the Beast. "The dance [scene], for me, is really where the audience starts to see it happening and starts knowing that it is happening," she explained to Entertainment Weekly. "This is total, blissful escapism." The addition of some feminist undertones is a much-welcomed bonus. We may have to wait until March 17 to see the dress in all its silver-screen glory, but Entertainment Weekly's coverage will hold us over — until we get another peek at the design, at least.

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