Let me start by saying I am in no way, shape or form a Disney Super-Fan. Yes, I like Disney films, but I have probably only seen a handful (mostly the early ones, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, you get my drift).
However, last year when I heard Kenneth Branagh was directing a live-action version of Cinderella; I was intrigued. My intrigue was furthered upon discovering the title role was to be played by Lily James. Anyone that has seen Downton Abbey will know Lily as Rose, the whimsical great-niece of Dowager Countess of Grantham. These things, combined with the costume design talents of Sandy Powell; basically meant I had to see the film.
I booked to see the film the day it came out here in the UK, and I certainly was not disappointed. The visual language created a pleasantly confusing pastiche of eras, styles & colours. Lady Tremaine’s arrival costume evoked imagery of The Wicked Witch of the West, whilst her daughters were a sickly garish concoction of mid 19th century.
Cinderella’s costumes were subtle, earthy even. This immediately created an accessibility about her, which in turn enabled the audience to empathise with her further.
Having enjoyed the film so thoroughly, I was delighted to discover that there was a Cinderella Exhibition held in Leicester Square Gardens, London. I tried for days to book tickets in advance online, only to discover that all advance tickets had been allocated already. Cue disappointment. But, not to be thwarted, I decided to ‘chance it’ and see if I could get tickets on the day. I was already going to London anyway on the Wednesday, so I decided to squeeze a visit to the exhibition in too.
I arrived at the exhibition at 11am, and was told the only available tickets they had for that day were at 6pm. So, be warned folks – if you are planning on seeing the exhibition, GO EARLY. Otherwise you may not get in. (Exhibition details at the end of this post).
After queuing for half an hour, (as those lucky souls who booked their tickets online had priority, so they went in first) finally I was allowed in!
The exhibition itself was small, but PERFECTLY curated. It had all the main costumes one would wish & expect to see: Cinderella’s ballgown, the stepsisters costumes, Lady Tremaine’s costumes, THE GLASS SLIPPERS, *sorry, I felt that deserved to be in uppercase*, and more. The sets themselves had been recreated from the film, so you could see Cinderella’s home, the cellar and the garden.
Which brings me onto the carriage. From one side, the carriage is simply a giant pumpkin, then walking through it, you emerge from a beautiful golden carriage!
Then – Yes, you shall go to the ball – as you emerge from the carriage, you enter the ballroom!
There were so many wonderful details that were simply amazing to behold – the wigs on the mannequins, the texture of the fabrics, the surface decoration on the gowns, the little accessories – all of it was wonderful.
If you are able to, I fully recommend a visit to this exhibition. The exhibition runs until April 10th 2015, Leicester Square Gardens, London. For more details, and to visit the official website, click here.
Until next time dears!