Inside 'Beauty and the Beast's' 30th Anniversary Costumes
Aug 22, 2023
By Jazz Tangcay
ABC celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Beauty and The Beast” with a hybrid broadcast special.
The two-hour special, premiering Thursday, includes live never-before-seen musical performances and features brand-new sets inspired by the classic story. Costume designer Marina Toybina was tasked with creating original outfits that pay homage to the 1992 animated feature and heritage while having a modern touch. “90% were made from scratch and we’re looking at close to 400 costumes,” Toybina says of her designs.
Award-winning singer and songwriter H.E.R. will play Belle, Josh Groban is playing the Beast, Joshua Henry will play Gaston and Rita Moreno is the narrator.
Toybina breaks down her designs.
For Belle’s opening costume, Toybina created a look inspired by what the character wears in the animated feature. Looking at the history of linen was important to her in creating this outfit.
“Denim comes from France, and instead of just using linens and muslin, I found the perfect denim which would make it more accurate to the period.
“She’s fully wearing undergarments, and that was important for me. I wanted H.E.R. to become the character rather than just putting her in a costume. I might have made it more difficult for her to have so many layers, but the appreciation and acknowledgment were there and she knew all the proper elements were present.
“One day, she called me and said, ‘I want to do something important to my [Filipino] culture (the actor is half Black and half Filipino). In my sketch, we had the apron, and it was plain. Of course, I’m using the proper textile and cotton. She had the idea of doing something with a little ribbon, but I wanted to be bold. My friend who is an incredible artist did this, and it spells out ‘Belle’ in ancient Filipino script. There’s a huge history there that I had to learn about the alphabet and how sacred it was. Instead of printing it on, it’s hand-painted.”
Lumiere, played by Martin Short, was once the prince’s footman who has been enchanted and turned into a candelabra. Aside from building a lightweight outfit, Toybina sought to create a “melted wax” effect.
“His outfit is wired with candles. This was lightweight. There are close to 10 different shades of gold that we played with, right down to this burnt velvet look that is embroidered into his entire jacket. We used a waistcoat and a skirt. We used brushed velvet to build a structure. And some of his outfit was made from Indian fabric, it was from a tablecloth, but I loved the embroidery so much, and how seamlessly it could blend into the velvets.
“I played with this idea of draping to make the fabric look like melting wax, but that took months to figure out. [If you look closely], his costume has a secret. There’s a feather etched into the fabric, and that pays homage to the story where he’s in love with Babette, the feather duster, and so feathers are hidden throughout.”
Upholstery fabrics and 3D printing were key to Cogsworth’s outfits. Toybina found the shades of brown she was looking for in fabrics usually used for curtains.
“David Alan Grier was such a great casting choice because his body shape gave me the body to expand the costume. I wanted to try to do 3D printing with a lot of the costumes.
“I used a lot of textiles to bring this one to life. From head to toe, I wanted him in full character right down to the shoes. All the pieces, the cogs, were done with silicone molds in-house. I was a huge fan of upholstery fabric, which this was made from and it was all about finding the right tones to match the fabric.”
Belle’s lavish gown is perhaps one of the most iconic princess dresses in the Disney animated universe. Toybina unveiled the dress to Variety, exclusively during a behind-the-scenes set visit. She contemplated whether to do a full replica or take the gown in a new direction and do something different.
“I decided to build something new. I looked at H.E.R. and she has this great following in music with her own style. So I wanted to incorporate that.
“We introduce the rose in this, and so I wanted the layers to look like rose petals, and everything down the dress, right down to the sleeve almost looks like a flower.
“When this came together, my take was that it would be a bit more elevated. I decided to develop an armor-like bodice that goes in line with ‘Joan of Arc.’
“Everything on the dress and bodice is hand-beaded, and there are four different types of pleating techniques that are used including sunburst pleating (accordion style) and gathered pleating that give the look of fullness so you get this aesthetic.
“I was very careful with color because there’s a lot of discrepancy between her dress and whether it’s gold or yellow. throughout time, it’s been interpreted as yellow, technically it’s gold. That’s why I brought in these elements of gold.
“Because there are different layers of iridescence, it’s so photographic and there are many different shapes to it.
“We do this very classic Princess moment, and then, she transitions to the idea of H.E.R now. I think it will inspire a lot of kids and the audience that there are no rules when it comes to being a princess.”