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Wednesday
Mar152017

Belle of the ball: Costume designer re-imagines an "active heroine" for "Beauty and the Beast"

Walt Disney Studios, 2017

(LOS ANGELES) -- How do you dress a real-life Disney princess? Picturing a more "active heroine," veteran costume designer Jacquline Durran re-imagined Belle's outfits for Emma Watson's plucky update on the character in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

In order to bring Belle and the other cast of famous characters to life, the Oscar-winning designer focused on attention to detail, historical context and adaptation from mid-18th century France to create a more modern version of the story in the guise of lead actors Watson and Dan Stevens, who plays The Prince and Beast -- the latter with the help of some computer magic.

In the original animated film, Belle first appears in town wearing a blue dress and corset. While Durran kept true to the color of the dress and apron, she swapped out a corset for bloomers and a bodice. "We didn't want her to be a delicate princess but an active heroine, which is why her costume was designed with pockets where she could place books and things she might need," Durran explained of Belle in a Q&A session provided by Disney.

Durran gave her boots rather than delicate shoes, "so she could run around the village," she said. "Belle is very practical...she's an inventor."

As for the iconic yellow ball gown of the original classic, Durran said, "my aim was always to reinterpret the original costumes, flesh them out a bit and give them texture, but the starting point for Belle especially was the animation. We ended up creating a simple dress, because what was most important was the movement of the dress."

She added, "The expectations for all of Belle’s costumes were quite high, but we ended up with some beautiful dresses that reference the animated film but are still unique to this film."

Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17 from Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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