I’ve been really into Beauty and the Beast lately, probably for two reasons. One, because the film’s 25th Anniversary is this November and the 25th anniversary Blu-Ray is released tomorrow. Two, because I’m in the middle of making my Halloween costume right now, Belle’s pink dress. The particular piece of concept art that I am featuring today depicts an early version of that very pink dress. It was created by artist Alyson Hamilton and is meant to examine the different angles of her dress with it’s romantic off-the-shoulder neckline and low back. Yet, although this drawing of Belle and her pink dress are not that far off from her final design, this drawing is not what it seems. The drawing, and the pink dress, actually predate the conception of Belle’s more famous blue dress and gold ballgown.
This sketch actually comes from an interesting early version of Beauty and the Beast in which Belle wore pink throughout the film. This version was not made by artists at the Walt Disney Studios in California, by rather by the studio that created the animation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Richard Williams Animation Studio in London, where it was directed by Richard Purdum. Unlike the Broadway style musical we know today, this early version of the film was actually a vary serious period drama, which explains the sophisticated romantic gown Belle would have worn throughout. I won’t go too much into detail right now (that’s for a more in depth article someday in the future), but it was extremely different from the final version of the film. Belle’s father was actually a down on his luck merchant like in the original fairy tale. She also had a younger sister names Clarice, a pet cat, and an evil step mother like Aunt. This Aunt was determined to set Belle up in a marriage with Gaston, who was not a macho hunter, but a foppish high-ranking aristocrat. You can actually watch the story reel for the opening of the London team’s version of the film here.
Eventually it was decided that the version of the film created by the London studio just wasn’t working and production was brought back to the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank where Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise were chosen as the film’s new directors. They completely revamped the film, getting rid of several characters and adding plenty of others. Yet, Belle’s beautiful pink dress still remained in some form within the film even if it never became as iconic as her blue dress or her gold gown. So there’s a little bit of the story surrounding my favorite dress of Belle’s