When we think about animated films, and specifically costumes in animated films, we tend to identify characters by 1 or 2 signature costumes. Cinderella had her peasant dress and her magical ball gown. Briar Rose had the same, though her ball gown was constantly shifting from pink to blue (to pink!) Alice has her iconic blue dress, and Peter Pan would not be Peter Pan without his feathered cap and tights!
Well, no such beast was Frozen. While we definitely identified "hero" costumes for our lead characters, the narrative required many, many more costume changes than what is typical for an animated film. Between the sheer number of costumes and the complexity of them (we're talking layers of petticoats, pantaloons, tights, gloves, hats, etc) Frozen is probably the most clothed animated film of all time.
The costumes in this film kind of have a life of their own. Whenever possible, they tell a visual story that supports the narrative. The cut, color and detail work on every piece of clothing is designed the way it is for a reason. Anna begins with a bright yellow palette, and she stays in the warm greens throughout the entire time she is growing up. When you meet her as an adult for the first time, she is back in that yellow - the same tenacious girl you met as a five year old.
Elsa, on the other hand, changes rather drastically. You meet her in her pale blue nightgown, and her palette gradually gets deeper and darker as she grows up and closes herself off from the world. Her sleeves get longer and she puts on gloves so that her skin is no longer exposed at all. Even her hairstyles evolve to be more tight and binding.
As adults, the girls are still costumed to reinforce their personality. Elsa's coronation gown is regal and restrictive, while Anna's coronation gown has inverted pleats for happy, hopeful twirling. Since the coronation is such a formal event, it seemed only fitting that Anna's hair be in an updo. To keep her playful, though, we added ribbons to her hair so that she could have a lot of great secondary motion. That same idea of added secondary motion on Anna is present in her traveling cape, where we added pompoms to the seams of the heavy wool fabric that (along with her rosemaling) reinforce her playfulness.
The bulk of my contribution to Frozen was definitely in the costume department. I ran the gamut from working on the sisters, clothing the King and Queen, and dressing the royal guard to refining Oaken's fabulous sweater/suspender combo and figuring out what troll clothing looks like I tell you, I will never look at a lining the same way again!
I really hope that somebody manufactures that sweater for adults - I can see a use for it at many an ugly-but-fabulous-sweater Christmas party in the future.
All images are property of Walt Disney Animation Studios
It was actually a little bittersweet to work on the costuming for this film because I frequently realized that while a lot of these clothes would be made into real-life costumes for children, there was slim to no chance that they would ever be manufactured for adults. Like myself. Anna's boots?! Come on.
One more Frozen post coming up, and many more updates on the horizon. Thank you again to all who continue to take interest in this little website. Have a wonderful week!