This post is a bit different today, but I figure if you love natural beauty then you might also love fashion, and fairy tales… When I found out there was a book all about the fashion in fairy tales I was ecstatic. I grew up loving fairy tales like most girls, but for me my pursuit of them went deeper as their influence followed me into adulthood both in blogging about weddings and in designing bridal hair adornments and jewelry. I’m also an avid reader of YA and adult fantasy and have a degree in creative writing. Basically, I’m interested in everything having to do with fairy tales and was thrilled that Colleen Hill (associate curator of accessories at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York) created this book. Fairy Tale Fashion was just released in March 2016 by Yale University Press.

Fairy Tale Fashion

The gorgeous cover drew me in straight away – a girl running through the woods in what looks to be layers of flowing silk organza with feathery details. This hardcover’s end sheets are printed in a beautiful brassy gold signaling that this volume encapsulates something very special. It has indeed earned a special space on my bookshelf.

Throughout there are many breathtaking photographs and vintage illustrations. I had expected this book to be comprised mostly of images, but was surprised to find that there is quite a lot of text. Beyond the introduction there are more than a dozen essays that take a look at the fashion depicted in popular tales such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And then some lesser known tales such as The Fairies, Furrypelts, The Snow Queen, and The Swan Maidens.

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In the last section of the book there are three essays. The first focuses on Sleeping Beauty’s influence on ballet fashion and in turn how ballet fashion influenced mainstream fashion over the centuries. The second is about the role of footwear in fairy tales, and the third about hair, accessories, and Alice’s influence as a style icon.

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Colleen Hill is thorough in her research throughout these essays and I appreciated her analysis not only on how certain tales may have influenced fashion designers (and the accompanying photos from the runway when possible) but also how fashion during the times the tales were written (or in many cases retold) influenced the characters appearance and transformation in the tales. And it’s all about transformation!

Christian Louboutin Lady Lynch stilettos

Christian Louboutin Lady Lynch stilettos

From Cinderella’s glass slippers to Dorothy’s ruby slippers (which, gasp used to be silver!), and from cloaks, gowns, and crowns among many generations of characters – I found it so interesting to learn the significance of these elements of fashion and how they have shaped storytelling as well as the way we think about clothes in our own closet. I know they certainly fuel my imagination when creating new locket designs, or bridal adornments for Violette & Iris.

I also love seeing fairy tale inspired makeup looks, as well as costume design for shows like Reign, Once Upon a Time, and cinematic retellings such as the new movie coming out (this week I think) The Huntsman: Winter’s War…looks like there is going to be some gorgeous makeup and fairy tale fashion in that!  The fashion we get to see on the runways and on the big screen today has come a long way since the likes of Charles Perrault and the Grimm Bothers first scrawled out their tales, but their imprint upon the journey of fairy tale fashion has left it’s mark.

I’d love to know in the comments below what your favorite fairy tale is! – xo Naomi

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