What message lies behind the costumes of “The Little Mermaid” film causing controversy?

What message lies behind the costumes of "The Little Mermaid" film causing controversy?

In Disney’s adaptation of the classic 1989 animated film, “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, the character’s appearance has stirred both tears and laughter among audiences, with many noting differences from the original.

What message lies behind the costumes of "The Little Mermaid" film causing controversy?
What message lies behind the costumes of “The Little Mermaid” film causing controversy?

Summary of Content: Ariel’s Live Action Hair – A Differentiating Factor The Mermaid-core Era Will Be More Explosive Than Ever Haute Couture Costumes Tailored Specifically for Ursula’s Character The Dress Inspired by the Ocean’s Blue Color The Majestic Armor of King Triton The Flowy White Dress in the Final Scene

The scene of the young girl sitting on the ocean surface, gazing at the land from a rock, is one of the film’s most precious moments. Additionally, her sparkling tail and famous cascading hair have captivated audiences’ attention.

The costumes, chosen by Colleen Atwood and designed by hairstylist Camille Friend, evoke a nostalgic and warm feeling while also making a definite impact on the next generation of Disney fans. Friend shared that a viewer reached out to her enthusiastically praising the film after its introduction, saying, “I was really touched because I didn’t know what people thought of it and how it might affect people. But after that person told me how much their daughter loved the film, I was very happy.”

Ariel’s Live Action Hair – A Differentiating Factor Bailey aimed to celebrate her natural hair, embodying the first Black Ariel: “This hair represents the crown of Black people, so they’re very special to us. So, I was really grateful that I got to keep my hair for the film.”

Friend, who received an Oscar nomination for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” emphasized the importance of understanding and knowing what to do with Bailey’s hair. They strived to make her hair look as natural as possible while still capturing Ariel’s essence. Initially, Friend created a wig with twisted strands for the character but maintained Ariel’s voluminous look to stand out underwater. Additionally, they used CGI effects to make the hair look as realistic as possible.

The Mermaid-core Era Will Be More Explosive Than Ever The film’s color palette shines with prismatic hues, primarily composed of blue and green. The American costume designer and her team meticulously designed costumes for the mermaid, starting from creating fins and scales to mimic real ones. They then used CGI image simulation technology for underwater scenes.

“I love the idea of this translucent tail – we can see the reflection of water images and movement through it.”

Ariel’s tight-fitting bodice features hazy violet fins. The patterns on the costume and images of Ariel and her six sisters are inspired by fish. For example, Princess Indira is designed with a yellow and brown off-shoulder crop top paired with a matching tail, while Princess Karina’s outfit remains faithful to the original.

Haute Couture Costumes Tailored Specifically for Ursula’s Character Atwood discussed the sea witch Ursula – the character who steals Ariel’s enchanting voice: “I feel like she’s a character who always cares about her appearance. This antagonist character will never dress plainly.”

Ursula always remains in her dark, gloomy lair, adorned in a long-sleeved sequined gown. The costume designer explained, “I used a layer of purple sequin fabric with a laser-cut layer of leather on top. So, when she moves, you can see the purple shine from the costume.” The sparkling effect is applied to Ursula’s eight tentacles, reminiscent of meticulously crafted ball gowns.

The Dress Inspired by the Ocean’s Blue Color Ursula paid attention to Ariel’s desire to experience “life on land,” forcing her to “rise up” against the restrictive regime established by King Triton’s rules.

After trading her fish tail and voice for Ursula’s, she arrives at a Caribbean island. There, the mermaid Ariel transforms into a human in a floral dress inspired by 1830s fashion to honor the “color of the sea.” Additionally, the dress features vibrant folds reminiscent of ocean waves and translucent cotton fabric.

The dress evokes many associations with Ariel’s mermaid origins, from the “surface fabric treatment” mimicking fish scales to coral-inspired embroidery patterns on the bodice.

Tiffany Williams, responsible for Bailey’s daily hair styling, retains her hair and adds a purple headband. Despite being far from home, Ariel still retains the “breath” of the sea through this accessory.

“You can also notice other hair ornaments attached to this mermaid character,” Friend said. “All these small pieces are reminders of who she used to be and who she is now.”

The Majestic Armor of King Triton Atwood collaborated with sculptor Jose Fernandez – owner of the costume design company for superheroes, Ironhead Studios – to create a mini version of the ocean king’s model costume. They even created a material resembling shellfish shells.

The costume’s craftsmanship and materials give the impression that all the elements of the armor are oceanic. His crown is inspired by giant shark teeth, connected by a seaweed-like material.

The Flowy White Dress in the Final Scene In the finale, Ariel has a happy story with Prince Eric with the support of her family. And just like in the animated version, Ariel wears a pink dress on her happy day.

The top layer of the dress is made from pineapple silk, also known as pineapple fiber from the pineapple plant. The American costume designer said, “I love this idea, you can imagine that the dress was made on the island in their story. The square patterns on the skirt make us think of fishermen’s nets or fish scales.”

Atwood said, “The embroidery on the dress represents all kinds of marine creatures, such as little squids or baby fish. That’s Ariel’s world when she was still a little princess under the sea. Not only that, but she also sees them as friends.”

These are portraits of Ariel’s close friends.

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