ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

Beauty and the Beast is arguably 's most iconic animation movie, so the studio's project to release a live-action version of the tale as old as time is nothing short of a challenge. Can the new movie, which stars as Belle, provide enough original elements to justify its existence while staying truthful to the original at the same time?

After all, most of us fans who are looking forward to the adaptation have grown-up with the singsongy version of , Belle's fearless disposition and the talking homeware, which means Disney'd better get them right again. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Watson and costume designer Jacqueline Durran explained how they brought their own touch to one of those iconic items that we all remember from the 1991 movie: Belle's yellow ballroom dress.

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Emma Watson Made Sure The Dress Was 'Utterly Whimsical, And Magical'

'Beauty and the Beast' [Credit: Disney]
'Beauty and the Beast' [Credit: Disney]

Watson got involved in the design of all of Belle's outfits, but the best part was obviously the ball gown the heroine wears when she dances with the Beast — and they start to fall in love. The importance of this scene is what made the design of the dress such a crucial decision, Watson explains:

"I really embraced working on the dress, making sure that it was utterly whimsical, and magical. The scene that I wear that dress in, and I have that dance in, it really tells the story of Beast and Belle falling in love. You know, we don't have a huge amount of time in the story to tell that story. The dance, for me, is really where the audience starts to see it happening and starts knowing that it is happening. This is total, blissful escapism. You are transported to another world. The dress, and the dancing, and the candlelight, and the music — it was really fun to work on every aspect of that."

'Belle Is An Active Princess'

'Beauty and the Beast' [Credit: Disney]
'Beauty and the Beast' [Credit: Disney]

One of the best parts about the dress is that Durran and Watson made sure it gave Belle plenty of freedom of movement, instead of the corseted chest trap it surely would have been designed as at the time of the story. As Durran puts it, Watson made it clear that Belle wasn't the type to sit and smile at her prince:

"For Emma, it was important that the dress was light and that it had a lot of movement. In Emma's reinterpretation, Belle is an active princess. She did not want a dress that was corseted or that would impede her in any way."

Same goes for the volume, which would usually rely on a cage-like structure for these types of dresses:

"There is a cage under some parts of it. But mainly it's layers of organza that just give it a lift, for it to have lightness."

Add to that that Belle, and not her father Maurice, is the inventor in this live-action take on Beauty and the Beast, and you've got a Disney movie that can pride itself on having adapted to the 21st century — at least as much as the story of an enchanted castle allows for.

Which one of Belle's outfits is your favorite in Beauty and the Beast?

Check out our mash-up of Beauty and the Beast and Fantastic Beasts, and click here for more original Movie Pilot video content:

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)


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