In the ongoing series regarding movie costumes, this post will be about the 1998 Ever After movie costumes. Danielle’s mother’s gown that she wears to the ball is absolutely beautiful and would be a great inspiration for a bridal gown, of course minus the wings! But before I go into any details about the dress I will briefly discuss some information regarding the movie.
Based on the Cinderella fairy tale, Ever After is a romantic drama set in 16th century France. The movie starts with the Brothers Grimm being summoned by the home of the Grande Dame (played by Jeanne Moreau) to discuss their version of “The Little Cinder Girl” story. Placed in the room in which they are meeting there is a painting of a young girl which was painted by famous artist Leonardo de Vinci and she explains that the girl is her great-great grandmother who was the real Cinder Girl.
Special Note: The painting of Danielle is based on a real unfinished painting by Leonard de Vinci called “La Scapigliata” dating to around 1508.
To prove that her story is true, she shows them the “glass slipper” as she starts to tell about Danielle de Barbarac (played by Drew Barrymore) and how she came to marry Prince Henry (played by Dougray Scott).
Grande Dame (played by Jeanne Moreau)
Danielle’s wealthy father had died shortly after he had married the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (played by Anjelica Huston) who comes to live with them bringing her two daughters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. Ten years after her father’s death, Danielle has been forced to be a servant within her own home; meanwhile Rodmilla has secretly been selling the house’s priceless treasures to pay off the high debt incurred from her and her daughters’ lavish lifestyle.
Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (played by Anjelica Huston)
the stepsisters – Marguerite and Jacqueline
(played by Megan Dodds and Melanie Lynskey)
Through a chance encounter Danielle meets Prince Henry, he is stealing a horse from her home and he callously tosses coins at Danielle to settle the matter before riding off! They meet again when Danielle is posing as a noble person to pay off the debt so that a trusted old servant named Maurice can be returned to her home, she pays with the money Prince Henry had given her. Prince Henry is intrigued by Danielle (posing as the Comtesse Nicole de Lancret, which was her mother’s name), he considers her both courageous and outspoken. After meeting several more time and sharing several more adventures together they begin to fall in love.
Danielle de Barbarac (played by Drew Barrymore) and
Prince Henry (played by Dougray Scott).
A grand ball is being held in his honor at the castle and Prince Henry has invited Danielle. Since Rodmilla is planning on her eldest daughter to be the one to marry the prince, she stops Danielle from attending by locking her away. The youngest daughter proves herself to be kind by sympathizing with Danielle’s unfortunate circumstances. Luckily Leonard de Vinci, who has come to the French court and become friends to both Prince Henry and Danielle, rescues her just in time. She appears at the masque ball as a butterfly wearing her mother’s gown with wings made by de Vinci. But before Danielle can tell the prince the truth, Rodmilla reveals Danielle’s true identity as a poor servant girl who is unworthy of a prince. Now, ashamed at deceiving the prince, Danielle flees the ball leaving behind her “glass slipper”.
the “glass slipper” that Danielle left behind at the ball
To further punish Danielle, Rodmilla sells her into slavery to an evil man. Eventually Prince Henry realizes that Danielle is his true love and he rushes to rescue her. But in a modern twist to the old fairy tale, it seems that Danielle has rescued herself! Prince Henry proposes by placing the “glass slipper” on Danielle’s foot and they soon marry.
Prince Henry proposes to Danielle with the “glass slipper”
Later, as a result of their cruel intentions toward Danielle, Rodmilla and her eldest daughter are banished to work out their days in servitude. But in the end, Danielle lives happily ever after with her prince charming!!
Special Note: For more information about the Cinderella fairy tale and ideas for incorporating elements of a Cinderella theme into a wedding, please click on the link.
Now it is time to discuss the lovely costume that Danielle wears to Prince Henry’s masque ball. Poor Danielle has only two precious processions in her life that she has managed to keep, one is a book called “Utopia” which was a gift from her dear father and other one is a dress which was previously worn by her mother who unfortunately died when Danielle was very young. It is her mother’s wedding dress that she wears to the ball and with the help of her friend Leonardo de Vinci who makes her a set of wings to complete the look of a beautiful butterfly.
Most historical romance dramas take great liberties when creating movie costumes and rarely strive for authenticity instead trying for a look with a modern edge or to convey a particular mood. In the case of the Ever After film the timeline takes place in France during the 16th century but the costumes have a more Italian Renaissance style.
The dress of Danielle’s mother is made in a Venetian style and it is somewhat whimsical in design with the large wings made by da Vinci keeping with the idea that Danielle is attending a masque ball as a butterfly. It is interesting to point out that the other guests at the ball are wearing dark colors and this allows Danielle to stand out with the light colored dress which beautifully matches Prince Henry who is also dress in light colored clothing.
The dress has a fitted bodice, detailed sleeves, a split overdress made in a shimmery silver crinkled gauze material and a lovely pale grey silk satin underskirt, the dress also has a slight train. The deep rounded neckline is worn off the shoulders and antique silver foil scalloped lace trims the edge.
The bodice features a pale gold lace that is intricately beaded with tiny pearls and seed beads and further embellished with embroidered leaves and oblong shaped bullion appliques, underneath the color of the bodice matches the pale grey underskirt.
At the waistline there are two rows of trim, one is a silver trim and the other is a row of individually sewn pearls. The overskirt is split into panels in the front are made in an embroidered metallic crinkle material and trimmed with embroidered leaves and flowers along the edges.
It seems that the dress has full sleeves made in a metallic crinkle organza with an upper band that has lace trim and embellished with embroidery in a swirl pattern and white iridescent and silver beads with the bottom of the band is a floral bullion, the organza is pulled through the top to create a “puff” of material. There is another “puff” of crinkle organza material and below that is the lower portion of the sleeve which is covered with thin netting that is embellished with floral embroidery and the edges are trimmed with several pearl drops.
The hem of the skirt is lightly padded and there are rows of French knots which gives detail to bottom. The padding also serves a purpose of adding weight to the dress since the silk satin of the underskirt and the gauze material of the overskirt were so light.
The back of the dress also features several panels of the shimmery gauze material. The upper back portion of the dress has the metal support for the wings which are made of netting stretched over a metal frame. The netting was a light weight fabric making the wings very easy to wear and also allowing them to maneuver beautifully to create an illusion that when she moved it appeared as if she was fluttering like a butterfly!
The custom shoes made by Salvatore Ferragamo matched the dress perfectly. The slippers were made in satin covered with muslin woven with silver thread and embellished with embroidery and beading. The transparent heel was made of plexiglass which gave it a “glass slipper” effect, the heel was also decorated with silver beading.
Danielle’s “glass Slippers” on exhibit
To complete Danielle’s look for the masque ball, an iridescent powder was dusted on her cheeks and above her eyes, several crystals were also scattered across her forehead.
Special Note: For those wishing to create their own magical “Ever After”, shown below are two patterns that were available from Simplicity. I don’t think the patterns are currently available in retail stores but a quick online search may yield a result.