Data + Design Project

Disney Princesses In Accurate Period Costume

Monday 07.25.2011 , Posted by
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Most of the world seems familiar with the famous Disney princesses, from Snow White to Pocahontas their likenesses are burned into our memory, fan or not. What makes them so iconic? Many would argue it was their lavish and flowing costumes, based on historical fashion. But just how correct are those period fashionable dresses? Claire Hummel, an illustrator with a passion for historically accurate costuming recently reworked many of the famous ladies, giving them new garb fitting a stylish member of their periods society. As you can see in her version of Snow White above (based on early 16th century Germany), many of the original Disney costumes weren’t far off, while a few are vastly different. For more of Hummel’s excellent work, see her website shoomlah.com

See Also Real Life Disney Princesses

Pocahontas based on 17th century Powhatan costume

Cinderella’s dress is based in the mid-1860′s

Jasmine is based on rare drawings of pre-Islamic Middle Eastern fashion

Sleeping Beauty based on the year 1485

Ariel’s dress is based on 1890′s evening gown fashion

Belle’s dress is based on 1770′s French court fashion

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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Comments

  1. NIce Work.. Like all of them :)

  2. yea they are all nice, but you forgot mulan and you forgot tiana and also rapunzel

  3. @ Alexa – Um, if you went to her website, you’d see she has already done Tiana, Mulan and Rapunzel.

  4. There are multiple references to “Allah” in the movie Aladdin, though… So why’s Jasmine based on pre-Islamic dress?

  5. These are beautiful. I would be interested to see a Mulan interpretation, or one of our newest princesses, Tiana, from The Princess & the Frog.

  6. Excuse me, I spoke too soon. I just read Lindsay’s comment & found the other 3 gorgeous historically correct interpretations of Mulan, Tiana, & Rapunzel.

  7. Mulan is actually not a princess. Never was.
    In fact, she was a commoner who ended up marrying an Army Captain, there was no royalty in her blood/family line, what-so-ever.
    Beautiful drawings though : 3

  8. It was wonderful.
    What good is a new idea, always.
    I love it!

  9. Snow White was a child.

    Other than that, these are awesome.

  10. Gosh you guys are so picky. Picky picky pick. “Mulan wasn’t blah” “Snow white was a blah” Does it make you feel superior because you couldn’t ever produce a piece like this? So so so very passive aggressive, the lot of you. Can’t separate content from execution. Sigh.

  11. Well, when the title of the piece is Disney Princesses in Accurate period costumes, nictpicking inaccuracies is warranted,

  12. Meh, nice drawings but they look pretty much like the originals… what’s the point… time on your hands?

  13. Madeline, “Allah” simply means “god” in Arabic; it is not a specific Muslim reference.

  14. I think these are all beautifully done and I agree with a previous poster that the subtle touches in each drawing really enhance them. However, I do not like Belle’s expression. She appears very haughty which is out of character.

  15. None of the European styles have chemises however and they wouldn’t be showing that much cleavage… This is more of the HBO/Showtime versions of costuming they have for their ‘historical’ series.

  16. I was surprised that for the most part I preferred these versions!

  17. For anyone interested to see more from this artist, here’s her DeviantArt site, with a link to the rest of the “Period Princess” pieces she’s done. http://shoomlah.deviantart.com/gallery/29648049

  18. I don’t like it!!!!!!

  19. I was surprised… These really made all the princess’s look really snobby.. and nice cleavage… not!

  20. Awh takes me back to when i was a kid. So glamorous!!

  21. Bill, the COSTUMES are supposed to be accurate, not who’s a princess and who’s a child and whatnot.

  22. Lovely, I have seen many of these but this one grasps colours well!

  23. Disney is always quite creative………….!!

  24. Um, I hate to break it to you but Pocahontas isn’t even close to accurate….

  25. I love them all. Really creative & nice.x

  26. Pocahontas is the best one there….sooooo hawt!

  27. I do not believe Pocahontas’ outfit. Powhatan dress is not that scanty – to wear that outfit would have been a scandal, especially as the daughter of a chieftain.

  28. LIndsay, agreed. This version of Pocahontas is even more debase than the first.
    This is a stereotypical costume of the ‘Indian’, without any historical accuracy. What? slap some warpaint on, throw some feathers in her hair, hand her a gun to fight and it is authentic? I won’t even get into gender roles of the Algonquin people here.
    This is not being nitpicky…it is another racist version of a strong female character from history.
    Other than this…the other girls look pretty…that is all we want right?

  29. I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that Cinderella was from the 1600′s – if we are going by the inspiration for the Disney movie. Why is her outfit set in the late 1800′s?

  30. These are very beautiful drawings! Although I am sad to see Belle looking so unlike herself.

    On a different note: I’d love to know what the reference was for the period costuming for each Princess. Given what I know about the stories, a lot of these seem a little inaccurate time period wise (I have no idea about the costumes other than that they look gorgeous):

    - As far as I know, the German “Snow White” was published in 1812 with the rest of the Grimm’s collected works; even her supposed ‘real’ influence lived in the 18th century. Earlier versions do exist, but with very significant differences, since this the Disney (and thus, Grimm) version we’re talking about, it seems odd to use the style of a much earlier period.

    - In reference to another comment: women of the Powhatan nation usually wore kneelength skirts, but oftentimes did not wear shirts at all (although higher status women did use deerskin to cover up, so Pocahontas may have done so too) . Though the costume may be inaccurate, it would probably not be seen as debasing, given how many Native Americans walked around bare-chested

    -Cinderella is a much much older story than the 1860′s; even the Perrault version, upon which the Disney movie was based, dates back to the late 17th century.

    - Aladdin was collected and added to 1001 Nights in the early 18th century, and ostensibly took place in China; Disney of course ignored this. Whatever the case, I seem to recall that the harem outfit such as Jasmine models is not and never has been part of arabic dress; it appears it was invented by Hollywood (or the West at any rate). Arabian dress is usually characterized by long flowing garments or wraps

    -The Sleeping Beauty and an earlier Italian version are both 17th century stories; Disney based its version on the Grimm’s shortened story. Either way, 1485 seems far too early.

    -The Little Mermaid was published by Andersen in 1836, which is pretty close.

    -Beauty and the Beast and its subsequent shorter adaptation by Mme LePrince De Beaumont (which I think is the version used by Disney) are both from the mid 18th century, so that seems accurate.

    I know this is all a bit shady as fairy tales go back to way back when (and of course, most of them start with ‘once upon a time,’ which could be any time). However, I think that if we’re considering the Disney versions, it is fair to base the costume accuracy on the time period of the original tales that Disney used (give or take 50 years perhaps). If there is another way of looking at it that I’m missing or facts that I’ve gotten wrong, please let me know. I looked most of this up to check, so I can provide my sources if necessary.

    Once again though, great illustrations!

  31. snow white is very nice. mjks.

  32. It seems like the costumes on these princesses are mostly based on the time period/place that the movies themselves depict. If that’s the case, rather than when the fairy tales were actually written, Belle seems to be way off. Her costumes and her hair in the movie seem to be more from the 1850′s to 1870′s (pre-civil war era), not at all pre-French Revolution. Most of these depictions were fascinating, though.

  33. These are awesome! It’s interesting that some of the actual Disney costumes really weren’t that far off! I was actually a little surprised about Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas.

    Rachel
    mommaonfire.blogspot.com

  34. Wow! These are so cool! I like how you have incorporated the colours associated with the characters with the dress of the time.

  35. tianna is not a real disney princess, nor is repunzel. the real disney princesses are from the 90s, that’s the Disney Princess Collection

  36. Chloe: disney.go.com/princess/

    they are all official disney Princesses, including Rapunzel and Tiana. Also, the only princesses from the 90s are Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan, so you’d be missing a few either way.

  37. Claire Hummel,
    First off, love the style. :)
    Secondly, (Although I’m not sure if you are going to be finished with your ‘princess project’ or if you are willing to continue with the plethora of princesses) I would LOVE to see a Princess Merida (Brave)! I don’t think anyone has commented about her, and she is my new favorite princess and VERY new to the Disney family. :)
    Looking forward to it
    Erin

  38. Custumes done correctly can make the move. Not historically correct just piss me off.

  39. Great post. Really enjoyed it but the Pocahontas doesn’t seem accurate. It would have been nice to see a reference picture.

  40. It is amazing how similar some of these costumes are. Even the slight differences are not enough to obscure who each princess is supposed to be. I did not even need all of the identifying tags to know which was which. Love this piece!

  41. These are awesome! love them!

  42. Aw WHERE is Mulan?????

  43. I love nice pictures.. really awesome!

  44. Except Pocahontas was bald. The women in her tribe removed their hair.

  45. For you who said Mulan isn’t a princess shes an honorary princess just so you know. Disney made her one

  46. I can’t really see the differences, only that these dresses are more elaborate. They are very good, but honestly, I prefer Disney’s more simple dresses.

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