Cinderella is an American fantasy film that was released in spring of 2015 and directed by Kenneth Branagh. The film was set in the 18th century era in Europe. The story was based on the journey of Ella (Lily James) and how each person that she met throughout the film made an influence on her life. As watched the film, I noticed how the costumes of the main characters displayed their presence in the film and how they connect with Ella. The costumes are both realistic and stylized in some way, according to each character.
Additionally, each of them has their own color palette to distinguish the personalities and their character’s role in the film. Ella is the leading character in the film and has changed throughout the film as she continued her journey. Her color palette and character remained the same throughout; pretty lady with blonde wavy hair, deep brown eyes, and fair skin. She’s associated with pale blue and sky blue colors. The way that she was portrayed in the film was soft-spoken, gentle, and kindhearted. She has already acknowledged her own presence in the film from the start because that’s how the original Cinderella 1950 movie was portrayed.
The first main costume was a delicate, solid pale blue dress with a bodice, which is what a typical 18th century woman would normally wear. It’s considered as realistic during that era. Ella’s main costume expresses her innocence, kindness, and courage. It also displayed how she lived her life in the simple country life. Although, when she first met her stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), her whole life was flipped upside-down soon after her father (Ben Chaplin) died during his business trip. She was being treated as a servant by her own stepfamily.
Her costume still remained the same with additional of dirty white hair rag and cinder ash on her face and clothes. Those subtle changes expressed how much her life has changed soon after her stepmother was introduced into her life. Lady Tremaine have such a unique presence in the film that made her stand out from others more in the film and contrast with Ella as well due to her color palette. Her usual color palettes are black and emerald green. She’s a beautiful, wicked woman with pale, piercing blue-green eyes and red-blonde hair.
Her costumes are both realistic and stylized at the same time from the 18th century. At her first introduction in the film, she was dressed in formfitting gold bodice with black floral, a full black skirt with floral pattern in many different shades of green and vellow, and an extravagant black bonnet. Her first presence in the film immediately displayed her power and she’s somewhat resemble to a bee. She immediately clashed with gentle, pale blue Ella and is viewed as a wicked villain in Ella’s life.
Lady Tremaine has such a jealous and manipulative personality that would constantly torment Ella and treat her like dirt. Additional subtle cues of the contrast of the color palette between Ella and Lady Tremaine is that all of Lady Tremaine’s gowns are heavy satins and taffetas with many different shades of green, red, and yellow. Those bold seems to be suitable for Lady Tremaine’s personality and can be displayed as danger in Ella’s life. Lady Tremaine has two daughters of her own and they such an odd role in the film. They’re constantly dressed in tacky gown in dominant color.
The primary color of Drizella Tremaine (Sophie McShera) is bold yellow while Anastasia Tremaine (Holliday Grainger) is bright pink. Their outfit attires tend to be matchymatch and extremely cheesy and tacky. Also, they have tightly wound curls that’s resemble to a sheep or poodle dog. Their characters’ outfit attires doesn’t fully stay in line with the 18th century fashion influence. Their choice of fashion is stylized and matched with their overwhelming exaggerated personality. They do clash with Ella as well because Ella is calm and kind-hearted whereas the stepsisters are loud and bold with one another.
The stepsisters are somewhat part of the Lady Tremaine’s army and are willing to tear down Ella’s self-worth and dignity. Ella met Prince Charming (Richard Madden) in the forest. Ella didn’t know that Prince Charming was an actual prince of the kingdom. I believe that Ella was completely oblivious to Prince Charming’s reputation and social status because he was wearing forest green frock coat with gold accent above his blue with gold accent shirt and topped it off with ocean blue scarf. Basing on his outfit attire, it expressed that he’s part of the royal family like those in the 18th century.
It’s considered as realistic and still stays consistent with the style of 18th century. They had a casual encounter about the hunting and how he shouldn’t be involved with hunting games. Prince Charming immediately fell in love with Ella’s kind-hearted charm, but Ella left in the hurry and didn’t get a chance to get her name. In attempt to met Ella again, Prince Charming invited every lady to attend the ball in search of his future wife. Lady Tremaine did not allow Ella to attend the ball. Ella made her own ball gown despite of Lady Tremaine’s demand.
The second costume that Ella worn was different from her other blue color palette costumes. She created a pink delicate, airy, romantic ball gown with puffed sleeves and ruffle along the neckline, which is average ball gown attire during the 18th century. This particular ball gown is unique because it’s pink, which is not Ella’s common choice of color. During that era, pink and the style of the dress seems to be signified as power and strength, which expressed that Ella do have hidden strength and power beneath her usual persona; kind-hearted, gentle, and soft-spoken.
With the change of color and the ball gown displayed that Ella is stronger than her stepmother and she’s slowly cracking her shell to go up against her stepmother’s wicked personality. After being tormented by her stepfamily and had her mother’s pink ball gown ruined, she was finally introduced to her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter). Her ball gown was larger than life with the luxury of 18th century influence. It’s made wide ruff and tight bodice, layered of icy-blue fabric with shimmery accent that displayed her role as Fairy Godmother.
She helped Ella to transform her tore up pink ball gown into a magnificent ball gown that will have everybody turn their heads. The third noteworthy costume that Ella wore was magically casted by Fairy Godmother. It’s an electric blue with hint have greens, lavenders, and lilacs ball-gown with a wide skirt layered in shimmery silk and neckline was decorated with delicate butterflies. There’s actually a meaning behind the butterflies, which is one of Ella’s fondness memories of her father when he brought her back a special paper butterfly.
This gorgeous ball gown surely made people at the ball to acknowledge Ella’s presence and the prince immediately fell in love with her, not knowing about her situation at home. Ella was having a time of her life with Prince Charming. However, once the clock struck at midnight, she slowly transformed back to her original ragged ball gown that displayed that this moment of happiness doesn’t last quite long. Prince Charming didn’t catch her name or where she lived, but luckily, Ella accidentally left her sparkling glass slipper behind as she flee. Prince Charming kept it in hope to find her again and ask her to be his bride.
Once Prince Charming that’s now a King finally discovered Ella due to her beautiful, soft singing voice that captured his heart. He immediately went to her and had her try on the slipper. It fitted perfectly and it’s considered as a destiny for both Ella and Prince Charming. It’s a happy day for them while it’s a depressing day for Lady Tremaine and her two daughters since they were banished from the kingdom due to their manipulative scheming to be part of the royal family. Shortly after the miraculous day for Ella, she married Prince Charming and became the Queen of the kingdom.
The last remarkable gown that Ella wore was a wedding dress that expressed her new social status as a royal wife and queen. It’s a long white flowy gown with train following behind with additional of spring floral patterns neatly placed on the lower part of the dress and neckline as well. She also wore a long sheer white veil with a golden crown with floral embellishments. Her wedding gown still expressed her true, kindhearted soul that she always kept throughout the film. Prince Charming on the other hand wore a long pale blue frock coat with royal white and gold embellishments with his pure white tight pant and dark black ng boots.
They both complemented with one another on their wedding day while expressing their royalty status to the kingdom and rule the kingdom with courage and kindness that Ella will always stay true with, and that they live happily ever after. Cinderella is a American fantasy film about the life of Ella and how she went from a simple country girl to a poor servant and now a wife and queen of the kingdom. Ella’s gowns throughout of the film truly signified each change that she went through as she blossomed from a country girl to a royalty wife and queen.
Additionally, the other main characters also were properly introduced in the film basing on their outfit attires such as Lady Tremaine and her daughters, Fairy Godmother, and Prince Charming. Each of them have expressed how they would either create a balance or a chaos in Ella’s life. Like every previous fairytales, Ella life have has end with a happily ever after with her very own Prince Charming. The director of this film creatively uses the color palette in each character’s costumes to exhibit the character’s role while being consistent with the 18th century fashion choice with the exception of Tremaine’s daughters.
Professionally, the color scheme have been remaining consistent throughout the film and strongly stay with each character, which is why Cinderella is such a great film for costumes and color palette film elements. Cinderella is a film that attempts to remake the original Cinderella 1950 to get viewers to embrace the fairytale hopes and loves in the realistic life in order to stay true to their own hopes and find love in the hopeless place.