Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell reinvents the glass-slipper splendor of Cinderella.
There’s a mysterious alchemy at work in the best costume design for film, a secret marriage uniting clothing, character, and a director’s vision.
For Blanchett, whom Powell has dressed in three films (including Todd Haynes’s Carol, also to be released next year), the designer’s costumes play a key role in preparations.
Though the fairy tale is timeless, Powell was aiming for the look of “a nineteenth-century period film made in the 1940s or ’50s,” she says. The film marks something of a departure for Powell, who earned her chops designing for the likes of fellow Brits Derek Jarman (Caravaggio) and Sally Potter (Orlando) and whose costumes combine her deep knowledge of historical dress with the wild inventiveness of an outsider artist.
As for the Dress—the magical raiment that arrives courtesy of Cinderella’s scatterbrained fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) on the eve of the royal ball—it’s a cerulean gown with a voluminous skirt composed of more than a dozen layers of gossamer-fine silk in different shades of pale blue, turquoise, and lavender.


Cinderella’s signature slipper, meanwhile, is made of crystal, designed in collaboration with Swarovski, and based upon a shoe from the 1890s that Powell found in a museum in Northampton. Who would Judy Garland’s Dorothy be without her blue gingham pinafore (Innocence!) and red sequined slippers (Temptation!), or Jean Harlow without her liquid satin gowns? She grew up surrounded by the vibrant colors of the large West Indian communities in Brixton, the South London neighborhood where she still lives.
Martha Hunt: If you follow Taylor Swift on Instagram, then you may recognize this beauty's name since the two are close pals. Jac Jagaciak: The 21-year-old Polish stunner signed with IMG Models back in 2007 when she was just 13 years old. Stella Maxwell: The 23-year-old Belgian-born beauty walked in the 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.


Sara Sampaio: The 23-year-old Porteguese-beauty was previously named one of Sports Illustrated's rookies of the year in 2014, and she made her debut in the Victoria Secret runway debut in 2013. Lily James (Lady Rose of Downton Abbey) stars as the ultimate little girl’s fantasy figure, while an elaborately skirted Cate Blanchett channels Joan Crawford as Cinderella’s evil stepmother. Textiles she finds in fabric shops there make their way into her work, alongside expensive Italian silks. Dressing Cinderella herself, meanwhile, required a subtle rethinking of the tale’s traditional iconography.



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