‘Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?’: A look at Cinderella’s gowns through the ages

From the animated Disney princess to Julie Andrews to Brandy to Laura Osnes (and many other incarnations), Cinderella has become one of the most famous and iconic characters of our time. With such an iconic character comes a legacy of fashion. Cinderella is immediately recognized by, among other things, her big blue ball gown. It has experienced several manifestations, but let’s face it, if Cinderella wore anything else she wouldn’t be Cinderella anymore.

Most of the world associates Cinderella’s image with the one created by Disney in the 1950 animated classic.

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Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ – 1950

Little did Disney know that Fairy Godmother’s nonsensical words would create one of the most famous looks of our time. An elegant, enormous, powder blue ball gown with white embellishments, sleek white gloves, a black choker, a sensible up-do and (don’t forget) the glass slippers and voila! You have the Cinderella we all know and love.

In the 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie-musical Cinderella, Julie Andrews portrays the lovely Cinderella and shows a similar look to the beloved cartoon character.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ starring Julie Andrews -1957

Andrews’ look is slightly more embellished and accentuates her youth more than her cartoon counterpart. The beading on her bodice and sleeves is more theatrical and makes a bold statement while still emphasizing her softness, gentleness and beauty. The short sleeves and lack of gloves appear to make her much younger and more naive than the Disney look. The movie captures more of Cinderella’s playful charm while the cartoon fancies the more sophisticated side of Cindy.

The newer adaption of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of 1997 stars pop star of the 90’s, Brandy. This film’s fashion can be characterized by one word: whimsy. The colors, fabrics, patterns and styles are all fun, inventive and welcome the audience into a storybook land.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ starring Brandy – 1997

Brandy’s costume relates directly back to the Disney cartoon, seemingly more so than Andrew’s gown. The shimmering tulle overlay paired with the bedazzled peplum bodice and off-the-shoulder sleeves all in a pale blue wash create a beautiful gown that still manages to capture the qualities of Cinderella all girls look up to: humility, kindness and elegance.

All of these looks are married together in the gown Laura Osnes wears in the current Broadway premier of Cinderella. The stage version emphasizes a whimsical style, similar to the movie, and provides fun flurries of color, texture, prints and layers to create a fanciful and dramatic look.

Osnes’ dress is the biggest, puffiest and perhaps the most princess-like of them all!

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ starring Laura Osnes – Broadway 2013

Complete with puffy sleeves, a cinched bodice and the largest skirt I have ever seen, Osnes’ look certainly makes an impression. The dress appears to be white at first glance, but fear not, there is a blue tulle overlay on the skirt which provides a subtle yet gorgeous homage to the 1950 animated gown.

Cindy’s looks have changed throughout time, but overall her iconic image remains intact. Which look is your favorite? Its nearly impossible to choose.

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  1. You forgot about Lesley Ann Warren’s gorgeous empire waisted dress! From the film made in the 60’s.