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7 Disney Characters Dressed In Stunning Period Costumes

Artist Claire Hummel redesigns your favorite Disney characters in historically accurate outfits.

1. Megara, Hercules

“So fantastically simple to research, just put her in a simple doric chiton and spent most of my time researching fabric colours and patterns to see what I could get away with. It kinda looks like she killed Hercules and took his helmet? I’m okay with that.”

2. Tiana, The Princess and The Frog

“Most of the dresses in 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 20’s.

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.”

3. Mulan, Mulan

“Sooooo Mulan. 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, the hanfu fashion setting it earlier AGHGHGhjffjhfghgjhkh

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 were 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.”

4. Aurora, Sleeping Beauty

 

“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 get-up from the 1460’s 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.”

5. Rapunzel, Tangled

“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’.

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.”

6. Maid Marion, Robin Hood

“A lot of people have been asking about Maid Marian, so I figured I might as well give her a shot- a bit tougher when you’re looking at clothing on anthropomorphic animals, of course, but there are still a couple of details that point to the 15th century- the cut of the dress, the ears disguised as a horned hennin headdress, the bag sleeves, etc. I still tried to maintain the relatively simple silhouette of Marian’s dress, just with added period details- making it more of a houppelande by design, and resolving the v-shaped neckline to show the kirtle underneath.

Also really wanted to hide some foxglove motifs in the lining of the gown- it’s subtle, but I think it really ties the whole design together.”

7. Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty

“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-1400’s, and they make for pretty good analogues to her official costuming. Sexy stuff.”

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