Based on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, this version of Belle’s animated ballgown has been created entirely out of novels, encyclopedias, and homemaking guides. Belle’s character was one who wanted to escape from her provincial French life and the expectation of marriage, so the use of books as the design element was a natural choice for a character known for her love of reading, and adventure. While some fabric is used to give structural support, this ballgown is created out of books collected from resale shops and library donations.
The restrictive bodice is made of the spines of cookbooks, novels, and guides on housewifery. The skirt is made out of travel encyclopedia pages that have been pleated and stitched in layers to create the classic gathered look of fabric, with visible text on French kings, bicycles, and the Silk Road. The off the shoulder sleeves and neckline are made of encyclopedia pages on birds and gardening. The skirt and sleeves have been airbrushed shades of yellow with gold accents to avoid compromising the integrity of the text. The flounces on the skirt were created out of Disney’s Wonderful World of Knowledge book covers and are connected by paper roses hand folded out of the pages of the Disney encyclopedia and airbrushed gold.
Thematically, the restrictive corset has book titles relating to the character’s oppression while the full and free skirt has the marks of travel, adventure, and knowledge. The costume, though delicate, can be worn and will be photographed soon. This piece represents Caden Alexandra's third in her series of re-imagined characters, with a live plant version of Poison Ivy appearing in the exhibit last year.
Below, Caden Alexandra stands with her project in the Dragon*Con 2019 Costuming Exhibit.