It is no secret that we at Scene Creek are immense fans of all things Disney, especially Disney princess movies. So when Disney Canada invited us to an exclusive media viewing of an exhibit showcasing items from Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Cinderella, we were ecstatic.
When we first walked into the exhibition space, we felt magically transported back to 1950, when the original animated film Cinderella was first released theatrically. Dubbed the Heritage Gallery, the room was filled with never before seen artwork from the Disney archive. Our personal favorite item in the room was a virtual storybook, wherein you could flip the pages of original drawings from the film just with the slight touch of the finger, as if delicately turning the pages of Cinderella history.
In the next room in the exhibit, labelled the Entrance Hall, we quickly moved from the Cinderella of Disney past into the exquisite world of Cinderella in Disney’s very near-future. There were some of the lavish costumes from the upcoming film, designed by Academy award winning costume designer Sandy Powell on display. On first glance, we observed immediately the tininess the actresses’ waists. When looking a tad closer, however, we were astounded at how detailed and intricate the dress designs were. For example, the dresses created for actresses Holliday Grainger (The Riot Club) and Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey), who play the wicked stepsisters, were meticulously hand painted, and extraordinarily lush up close was the lavish green dress created for Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), who plays her evil stepmother.
“Yes, but what about Cinderella’s Ball gown and, le piece de résistance, the glass slipper?”, you say. After walking through her dank cellar room (with set pieces and decor taken straight from the studio where the film was shot), and the garden area where she meets her fairy godmother (as played by Helena Bonham Carter in the film), we walked into a re-creation of the fabulous ballroom. There are really no words to describe how enchanting it feels to literally walk into a fairytale world brought to life. Of course the centerpiece of the various ballroom costumes on display was Cinderella’s jaw-dropping gorgeous blue gown. Decorated with 10,000 Swarovski crystals and resplendent with butterflies (a repeated thematic symbol displayed in the film), the 24-layer dress was stunning. The spectacular glass slipper which fits Cinderella (re-named Ella for the film)’s foot was also made of Swarovski crystal. We cannot wait to see the lovely actress Lily James wear the complete ensemble in the film.
Walking out of the exhibit, we were left in quite a giddy haze indeed. We are now counting down the days until the film’s March 2015 release.