Saturday, July 7, 2012

Color symbolism in Disney's Beauty and the Beast

 The filmmakers of Disney's Beauty and the Beast were very intentional about many of the details, including the colors of each characters' wardrobes.

For example, can you tell what color is missing from the picture below?
 I would never in a million years have picked up on this if I hadn't read it in Charles Solomon's Tale as Old as Time, but Belle is the only one in her village to wear blue, so that visually she stands out, because she's different from everyone else. I like this concept but kind of wish they'd used something a little more obvious. Who notices lack of blue?
 But another reason for Belle's wardrobe: In the words of Art Director Brian McEntee, "Beast starts out in very dark colors; Belle starts off in very cool colors. As the film progresses, her wardrobe warms up and his cools down. When you get to the ballroom, she's in gold, and he's in blue: they're falling in love, so they're at the same place."

But I'm convinced that the real logic behind each Disney princess' dress can be boiled down to marketing-so that when the princesses are displayed all together they create a nice rainbow effect 
By the way...this is my hundredth post with a Beauty and the Beast tag!


  1. This is really interesting. I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast and thinking that Belle somehow looks different from the other villagers, but I never picked up on the color.

    Some years back I saw commentary to A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff and they mentioned that they gave her a blue wardrobe and avoided blue for the other characters, including extras, to make her look more out of place.

  2. I actually watched the same commentary! I remember them saying it was impossible to prevent the extras from coming in jeans! I just don't get it though, I don't really consider blue to be a standout color.

  3. I think they said something about using blue as a visual cue about how Duff's character is sad and unhappy. And in a sea of warm colors blue can look a bit 'alien'

  4. I always figured the color motif was:
    Belle in blue and gold/yellow, representing her positive influence on the other titular character.
    Gaston in red as well as the villagers as we can see, representing his negative traits and influence by contrast.
    The Beast starts with a purple cloak, representing both his royal status, that he was as bad as Gaston at one, but he's open to become a better person under Belle's influence. due to purple= red+blue.
    The Beast later adopts his iconic blue-gold/yellow suit ditching any red, as it was him showing his heart of gold as well as opening up to Belle that paved the way to the ballroom scene to begin with, finding he can change.

    1. Wow I never even thought about Gaston in red being part of the symbolism too! It makes sense though, red so often represents evil and/or vanity.