It seems that no matter how feminist, progressive and independent we are, we simply can’t resist comparing celebrities (or ourselves) to Disney Princesses. Take today’s top stories on Vogue.com. Prominently featured is “10 Times Rihanna Was a Real-Life Disney Princess.” This is a common trope among fashion and celebrity media sites as they feature images of popular figures side-by-side with cartoon images of the well-known royals.
Disney Princesses have gotten a bad rap in recent years for promoting sexist ideals to young girls (and boys). However, Disney has also made a concerted effort to move away from these stereotypes with heroines like Moana. And with popular live-action revivals of some Disney Princess favorites like Cinderella (2015) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), it seems that they are getting a renaissance. In July, the England women’s soccer team even collaborated with Disney for a campaign encouraging some of the Princess’ traits like fearlessness and determination.
With the stories and movies so ingrained in our culture, it’s no wonder that the fashion set continues to reference them – both in media, on the runway and on the red carpet. Actresses portraying the starring roles in the new live action films almost had an obligation to dress the part on the red carpet. And they did not disappoint.
Emma Watson, who played Belle in Beauty and the Beast, embarked on a thoroughly modern yet equally princess-y press tour while promoted the film. Donning Christian Dior haute couture at the ELLE Style Awards, the storybook-embellishment on a creamy gown teased what was to come. The dreamy Christian Dior gown in the exact same color of Belle’s dress elicited well-earned comparisons while the sparkly, caped Elie Saab number worn in Shanghai pumped up the glamour.
If Disney princesses wore couture, perhaps they’d wear Elie Saab for Lily James chose the Lebanese designer while promoting Cinderella. Perhaps fittingly, James’ press tour had a little more sparkle to it – Belle is known for being the bookworm princess, after all. Two of James’ standout looks were Elie Saab gowns: a light, layered pink one in Tokyo and the much-talked-about blue number worn in LA.
While we wait for the next iteration of “__ Times ___ Was a Real-Life Disney Princess,” or continue to ponder how someone compared Game of Thrones characters to Disney Princesses, we can look to Elie Saab’s Fall 2017 Haute Couture collection. From the deep, velvet dark blue Medeival-style gown with cape that reminds us of Aurora from Sleeping Beauty to the green dress that looks like it was insprired by Frozen’s Anna and the combination of jewel tones, gold braid and flowing skirt that calls to mind Princess Jasmine, there’s no lack of Disney Princess inspiration from Elie Saab this fall.
And though our feminist minds tell us Disney Princesses have the potential to do harm, we also appreciated a little fairy tale escapism once in a while. In some way, Disney Princesses will also inspire fashion. And you know what, we’re okay with that.