22 thoughts on “Disney Princess Historical Costume Influences: Cinderella (1950), Part 1

  1. Gus Gus is the best! Also, it’s amazing how much Cinderella’s dress looks like Maria’s in that Sound of Music pic you posted!

    1. What about the mothers dress before the alterations!?? I’ve been looking all over to see what period or style that dress was … it’s all sinched up at the bottom

  2. Your comment about the age of her everyday work dress reminds me of a teacher I had in college. He taught a course on myth & fairy tales (folklore, he would grumble–there aren’t fairies in most of these stories) and we covered Cinderella. His primary gripe was that Disney was a clean freak and had literally cleaned up a number of these stories. No patches, no dirt, not even a smudge on her face! He pointed out that in the older versions, CINDERella was so dirty that when clean, her family didn’t recognize her. Even in Perrault’s version, she was grubbier than Disney’s version.

  3. It’s fun to speculate, but the truth is it’s just a story a kids story at that. It’s meant to appeal to them. Also it’s got to be easy to animate. Smudges of dirt, or patches are much harder to animate consistently. In the end all movies are for entertainment and this one succeeds.

    1. Of course! It’s a great movie with beautiful designs. But isn’t it interesting to try to guess what the designers/animators were going for in the costumes? Nothing comes out of thin air.

  4. I hate to nit-pick, but in Disney’s movie the Prince doesn’t go searching for Cinderella, the Grand Duke is sent by the King to find ANY girl who fits the slipper. It isn’t explained why the Prince sits out the search. The live action version released this spring actually makes more sense in this regard.

  5. Ok first, I wore the 90210 Spring Fling dress to my prom. now on a less serious note. While Victorian adult women would wear deep mourning, young girls were not expected to. It would be common for them to wear white with black or deep purple sashes, hair ribbons and armbands. Also, since both her step-mother and step-sisters are in colors, you can assume that he just passed as social convention would require at least 1 year of deep mourning, 6 months of regular mourning, and an additional 6 months of half or light mourning.

  6. I really loved reading this article! Thank you so much for putting it together! Extremely late to the conversation, but I believe you’re right as far as the portrait collar reference on Cindy’s pink bow-tastic nightmare dress. But rather than the 80’s style, it’s based on the 50’s portrait collar. It was stylish on cocktail and evening dresses at the time. It’s also what the pointy shoulder bits on Aurora’s gown are said to be modeled after. Here’s some examples I found through google:


  7. I’m not a history person, but when I was a kid, I loved old Hollywood movies and Disney. I always thought Cinderella’s pink dress was a sweeter version of Rita Hayworth’s swoop, A-line skirt dresses. Which makes sense. Fashion from the 40s would seem sorta cute and mildly outdated (childlike!) in the 50s when Cinderella came out.

  8. Disney sometimes lifted directly from other Hollywood movies in mood, atmosphere and visual style. I’ve long thought that Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ was partly inspired by ‘The Spiral Staircase’ with Dorothy McGuire from 1946. Dorothy’s hairstyle and unassuming dress are very similar to Cinderella’s, though Dorothy is more dowdy and downtrodden in attitude. The staircases in ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Spiral Staircase’ both figure largely into the settings’ menacing moods and as symbols of class struggle and personal hardship for the two leading female characters. Check out ‘The Spiral Staircase’ and see if you don’t see the shadow of ‘Cinderella’ in it too!

    1. Thanks Tony, I just looked up the Spiral Staircase, and it does look like the set of the Disney film!

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