Every little girl dreams of being a princess, and some even get to see those dreams turned into a reality with a lot of kissing up to the media, strutting half-naked down a university catwalk and having the patience of a saint. But in most childhoods there are the princesses whose nightingale-pretty singing voices and Technicolor gowns are enough to transport little girls into an imagined world of sugar puff fairytales and a life of majesty (otherwise known as Disneyland!).
The fantasy enabled via fancy dress has been given a couture makeover this autumn, as leading fashion designers from Marchesa and Valentino to Elie Saab and Oscar de la Renta, have each offered their imagining of Disney’s princesses. Destined to adorn the Christmas windows of Harrods’ Knightsbridge store, due to be unveiled on Thursday 1 November (I will be first in line); the display is set to coincide with a 7,000 square foot Disney Princess pop-up boutique on the fourth floor of the store open now.
The iconic ensembles of Cinderella, Belle and Ariel have transcended their two dimensional origins to become the stuff of grown up girlish dreams as Marchesa enrobes The Little Mermaid in deep blue silk, and Elie Saab dresses Sleeping Beauty in pale pink embellished with scattered exquisite beading. Cinderella’s all important ball gown is treated to numerous golden layers, a tiara and those statement glass slippers by fashion house Versace, while Valentino crafts the beautiful for Beauty and the Beast with fantasy silk chiffon, a sheer hooded cape, layers of pleating and a silver flower bag.
Aladdin’s Arabian Princess Jasmine is draped in Escada’s exotic fuschia silk chiffon gown with golden flower belt, while silk and jade comprise Mulan’s stunning oriental kimono-style number by Missoni featuring turquoise shades and red detailing. Roberto Cavalli stays true to Pocahontas’ natural, earthy beauty with a feather light printed gown embellished with pearls, and bridalwear maestro Jenny Packham frees the entrapped Rapunzel with a beaded dress of pale grey.
Recently lauded fashion stalwart, Oscar de la Renta plays Prince Charming to Snow White with a silk gown featuring intricate embroidery across the bodice and a floor-sweeping cape in none other than the ebony-haired Princess’ signature shade of red, to match the rosebud of her lips. A modern Princess comes in the form of the latest royal addition to the cast, Tiana, Disney’s first ever African-American heroine who found herself starring across from an amphibian in The Princess and the Frog. Reimagined in a mint evening gown with sweetheart neckline by Ralph & Russo, the dress whose layered tulle skirt is strewn with crystals completes the majestic line up.