- Vivian Hendriksz |
Amsterdam - A touch of movie-magic made it way onto the catwalk at Amsterdam Fashion Week this weekend, as the Walt Disney Company teamed up with six talented fashion designers to help bring its reimagined story of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ to life. The company, best known for its beloved characters, asked Boaz van Doornik, Elke van Zuylen, Liesbeth Sterkenburg, Zyanya Keizer, Marlou Breuls and Jazz Chris to create each an outfit inspired by this beloved tale as old as time.
Each designer sat down and spoke with the fashion host Aynouk Tan on the concept behind their design before presenting them to the audience, which included Francesca Gianesin, Vice President Disney Consumer Products, Retail and Fashion. Gianesin took a moment to speak to Tan on the fashion ongoing love affair with Disney. “It’s incredible, as we have just seen in how many ways the same story can inspire different designers and people.”
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6 designers create their own design in honour of Disney’s ‘Beauty & the Beast’
“In fashion, what we try to do is bring joy to the wearer’s really. This is the essence, bring a little bit of magic into everyday life and help everyone show their emotions to the world through what they wear. So today, I wanted to be strong and powerful, so I went with this Captain America dress.” She adds that it is good that people use the way they dress to show emotions. “We wear what we dream in a way,” which is why both consumers and designers alike are so interested in creating and wearing fashion depicting their favourite Disney characters.
“I think is the reason why Disney characters are loved by designers is because they touch them emotionally,” said Gianesin to FashionUnited after the show. “They make them feel something that stays with them for a long time, which makes them so loveable and memorable.”
“I wanted to create an outfit which showcased Belle as a tough, cool and strong woman,” explained Liesbeth Sterkenburg, an ArtEZ graduate and finalist in Frans Molenaar Couture Award 2016. She imagined a life for Belle, where the princess would be able to go on any adventure she pleased whenever she wanted but would also still be fit to drop in a party at a moment's notice. “She wants to leave her boring old village and experience something new. So I made her an outfit which she can wear to go on adventure.” Her resulting design consists of a yellow rain jacket with enough pockets to hold everything she needs, over a bodysuit which features a ‘map’ of her adventures, such as the castle, a backpack to hold her things and a hat.
“The memories I have of the original movie from when I was a child a very visual. The main scene I recall it the one of Belle in her yellow ball gown and the beast,” said Marlou Breuls, a 2016 graduate from AMFI. For her design, which was inspired by Belle’s iconic dress, Breuls aimed to bring together the light-heartside of a fairytale, and the dark, sinister undertone than many of these stories feature. This resulted in a twisted yellow suit, which hide the model's body and face, covered with a more traditional princess skirt. “I was extremely bothered by the identity Belle portrays to young girls, who see Belle, and all other fairytale women as an ideal figure. Everyone thinks that is what women are supposed to look like so I wanted to create almost a creepy suit, which covers the model’s face, to remove her identity in a way, to remind girls it does not matter what you look like. What matters is what is on the inside.”
“In particular, what I remember the most from the movie is the largeness of the beast itself. I was actually more interested in the monster, rather than the princess,” said Jazz Chris on the inspiration for her design. As the only designer to be more inspired by the Beast than Belle, Chris admits that she has always been more drawn to more masculine designs, but when she creating her concept for the design she was able to rediscover the child in her. “The outer shell of the design retains a ‘beast-like’ appeal, very dark and heavy. But underneath I wanted to show a more vulnerable side, by embroidering golden roses with petals falling down onto the trousers and refine the edges - something I would not have normally done as a designer.”
“What I liked about Beauty and the Beast was always the castle itself. Because it changes from being very dark and scary, to very light, open, friendly and becomes beautiful,” said Zyanya Keizer, who has shown her eponymous label at Amsterdam Fashion Week several times. She created a blue-gown, similar in colour to the dress Belle wears in the beginning of the movie, but covered in white beads which took 4 seamstresses 2 months to sew on. “My outfit is about the transformation of the Beauty and the Beast. But my main moment of inspiration is when Belle first walks into the castle and everything is froze. To me that is a key moment that marks their moment of transformation and I wanted to capture that atmosphere there because that moment marks a new beginning.”
“What I like about Belle is her personality and how she is not afraid to be herself and wanted to include that in my concept,” said Elke van Zuylen. She looked to Belle’s humble beginnings in the small French town for her inspiration as she identified with this. “I usually make designs which let me create my own world, where the wearer can feel protected from the world in a sense but also show who they really are. My design consists of a feminine velvet dress pairs with an oversized red velvet jacket where you can hide away in if you want.” On the back of the jacket, she also embroidered the iconic red rose from the movie.
“The image of the rose was my source of inspiration from the movie. In particular the scene where Belle sees the Beast through the jar, which casts a huge shadow on the wall,” said Boaz van Doornik, a fashion graduate from ArtEZ School of Arts and winner of the Textile Special Award at Mittelmoda Fashion Award 2016. It was his first time creating a women’s outfit - which was a bit of a challenge for the men’s wear designer as women have different bodies, proportions and silhouettes - but one he gladly took on. “You have to see what is sexy on the body, as it’s always different for men and women but I am happy with the end result.” His end design consisted of a woollen suit with a cape, covered in a rose ‘shadow’ print made by tracing the shadow of a rose.
Amsterdam Fashion Week previously announced last December that it had teamed up with the Walt Disney Company for a fashion collaboration. The Beauty & the Beast Fashion Collaboration is a creative partnership between Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam and Disney in honour of the new live-action Disney version of Beauty & the Beast, featuring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, set to launch in cinemas this March.
Photos and video: Myrthe de Graaf for FashionUnited