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Shockingly, Aladdin is not a wonderland of historical accuracy
June 17, 2011 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Shoomlah illustrates Disney Princess in historically accurate costumes, givs explanations for her choices, and shows us her process.

Bonus Shoomlah

*Gibson Girl Ariel (warning, nipples)

*Harley Quinn d' Arte
posted by The Whelk (55 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Still not creepier than Slime Molds.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:41 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Historically accurate costumes, biologically improbable t&a.
posted by phunniemee at 8:43 AM on June 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


Very cool.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:43 AM on June 17, 2011


So the takeaway, I guess, is that Disney princesses tend to have fairly historically accurate costumes that get streamlined for animation purposes? Because those costumes are pretty close to what they wear in the movies.
posted by mightygodking at 8:51 AM on June 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


The outfits are great, but I'm stuck on that gorgeous tiger drawing in the Jasmine one.
I kind of wish these were drawn in period styles, too.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:53 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


tiny little Persian Miniature Jasmine? Woodcut Snow White?

That would be cool...
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 AM on June 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd love to see the other characters from those films in the same style of dress because as the artist notes, not all characters wear clothes that are from the same time & place.
posted by pointystick at 8:55 AM on June 17, 2011


Good teenagers, take off your clothes.
posted by Fizz at 8:57 AM on June 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


What program is that she's using?
posted by nzero at 9:01 AM on June 17, 2011


Because those costumes are pretty close to what they wear in the movies.

Not really: Snow White had short sleeves, an unlikely narrow skirt with a bow in her hair (!); Ariel was married in a hideous generic white gown; the crinoline placement on Cinderella's gown is characteristic of the time; &c. None of the silhouettes of the Disney versions are historically accurate, they represent modern day aesthetics and hairstyles. I would not call Disney's costumes fairly historically accurate because you couldn't look at a Disney princess and place her in history by her clothes unless you knew the backstory.

I'd like to see her version of Sleeping Beauty, that's one of the most hideous costumes Disney has come up with. I wonder if she'd go with Perrault's era or Grimm's.

What program is that she's using?

It says Photoshop CS4 or 5 at the end of her blurb for each princess.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:08 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Historical accuracy = grime, mostly.
posted by longbaugh at 9:09 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


She mentions the difference between portraying a fictional character accurate to the time peroid they're set in and making a historically accurate deception of an actual person in the Pocahontas post, I:E in the drawing she's not 12.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, are you telling me that THIS is NOT a historically accurate costume for Princess Jasmine?
posted by Fizz at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


NSFW

posted by lemuring at 9:20 AM on June 17, 2011


I assume Marian is not included because her outfit was authentic.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:25 AM on June 17, 2011


(warning, nipples)

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!
posted by stormpooper at 9:29 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now I would like to see a historically accurate girl superhero costume. No friggen way Wonder Woman is running full speed in a corset with nothing popping out (warning, nipples).
posted by stormpooper at 9:30 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really covet these prints, though I would like to wait for a few others in the series (stupid overpriced shipping to Canada). I hope she does Maleficent.
posted by jeather at 9:32 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What program is that she's using?

It appears to be Photoshop CS4
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:36 AM on June 17, 2011


Sleeping Beauty did borrow from that gothic-y, elongated look a bit. It helps that peroid illustration of the time were pretty flat and stylized to begin with. What would the fashion-equivalent of Maleficent be? Court wear? Something ecclesiastical?
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2011


It would have been nice if she hadn't worried so much about maintaining the recognizability. I still look at these and see "A drawing of Snow White." At least I think it would be a little more dramatic to put them side-by-side with a reference drawing from the period and an image from the movie.
posted by bleep at 9:46 AM on June 17, 2011


It says Photoshop CS4 or 5 at the end of her blurb for each princess.

Ah, I see it now. Thanks.
posted by nzero at 9:47 AM on June 17, 2011


Not as awesome as Disney Princess Superheroes
posted by briank at 9:48 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting. I can't quite wrap my mind around the few late-19th-c.-inspired ones. Sure that's when they told the tales, but isn't the princess-prince type of story typically housed in some sort of uber-medieval-environment?
posted by Namlit at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2011


I'm guessing Nala doesn't count as a disney princess..... (insert sad face)
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:00 AM on June 17, 2011


Really? Native American women (girls, really) wore one-shoulder midriff tops? That seems improbable.
posted by chowflap at 10:02 AM on June 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


Princesses are great, but that tiger, whoa! Reminds me of Tomer Hanuka.
posted by Tom-B at 10:05 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Namlit - It depends on the stories as to when they were set. Robin Hood Tales obviously were set in the middle ages (though not always in the reign of Richard I). But other tales were set later - the merchant in Beauty and the beast, for instance, has long distance shipping more characteristic of the early modern period. Not that medievals didn't have lots of shipping, but I always pictured him waiting for his ships somewhere like early 17th century Amsterdam or Belgium -- and the author was writing in 18th century France.

The Grimm brothers collected their tales in the early 19th century in Germany - a place where there were still dozens of tiny Kingdoms and principalities where marrying the prince was a possibility (albeit a far fetched one). These household tales were probably set not hundreds of years earlier, but a couple of decades earlier - long ago enough to be believable as true, but not so long ago as to be alien.

Interestingly, I once read an English version of Rumplestiltzkin in which the girl did not marry the King, but a Duke -- which would have been far more believable in early modern England.
posted by jb at 10:29 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


TrinsicWS - she's still working on them. note the lack of (my favorite princess) aurora. you should make a comment and ask for nala.
posted by nadawi at 10:40 AM on June 17, 2011


Calling bull on the Pochahontas one. A midriff baring top that has a torn-off look? That's historically accurate to Raquel Welch in the sixties.
posted by Trochanter at 10:41 AM on June 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


These are fantastic--a lovely combination of my love of historical fashion and my deeply rooted nostalgia for Disney Princesses.

(Aurora was my favorite too. I think my lingering love for off-the shoulder dresses is pretty clearly correlated to this fact.)
posted by chatongriffes at 10:46 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Jasmine costume isn't especially historically accurate- the harem pants and upturned shoes are much more 15th century Turkish seraglio than anything contemporary of the Thousand and One Nights (even if the Aladdin story may only be as old as 17th century European versions). This would probably be a more accurate costume for an 11th century noblewoman from the Arabian peninsula (even though the princess in the original story was supposed to be Chinese). And yes, I get that Eva Green's character in Kingdom of Heaven was a Christian, but she was a vassal of the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem, many of whom assimilated to local styles and would have taken their sartorial cues from Damascus or Baghdad (as opposed to the later crusaders, Templars, etc.). Really, I just like looking at Eva Green.

In short, it is probably a rather silly exercise to try and come up with "historical" costumes for a number of these characters, even if they are executed rather well.

To be fair, as much as I loved The New World, some of Q'orianka Kilcher's outfits came across as a bit "flower child" as well, even if they did do a good job with some of the other Powhatan costumes.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:47 AM on June 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


Right, I was specifically thinking of the Grimm stories. They were indeed collected (and cleaned up by the Grimms) during the early 19th c.- they seem to reflect late 17th and 18th-c. German post-30yrs-war small states most of all. But in Grimm's versions, there's a bit of a High-Romantic-Neo Gothic sauce over the tales as well. In which case "historically accurate" becomes a difficult definition...
Apart from that I actually was amused by the results.
posted by Namlit at 10:52 AM on June 17, 2011


TheWhiteSkull - it's worse than that. According to Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio (who wrote Aladdin) it's set in 8 A.D.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:52 AM on June 17, 2011


Here is a contemporary engraving of Pocahontas - of course, the artist probably never saw her or any of her people in life, so it's about as fictional as Disney. But it's historic fictional (and maybe the inspiration for the Disney costuming?).
posted by jb at 11:00 AM on June 17, 2011


Another contemporary engraving of Pocahontas - though perhaps this artist actually saw the subject. Someone who knows more about art history/Native American history other than reading wikipedia should say.
posted by jb at 11:06 AM on June 17, 2011


I can't imagine how she could do Maleficent, but it would be awesome. The issue with Jasmine is that she insisted on keeping the midriff-baring aspect of the outfit, and historical accuracy took a secondary place. But there is a tiger, so.

I did not like Aurora because they made her dress pink in the end, when blue -- or even purple -- would clearly have been better.
posted by jeather at 11:21 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am NOT feeling the Pocahontas one. I know she was trying to deal with adolescent Pocahontas, but her outfit is even more Fredericks of Chippewa than Disney's.

Pocahontas was a naked child when she visited John Smith in Jamestown. For Winter warmth, she would wear a mantle; one of hers was covered with feathers. When she turned 12, she started wearing a leather dress with or without one shoulder strap. Dresses were often decorated with pictures of animals, birds, or tortoises. She probably did have tatoos (sic) via
posted by misha at 11:21 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I only just noticed the intricate tree pattern at the hem of Snow White's dress.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on June 17, 2011


There are a thousand wonderful, even better artists on dA, all who do Disney princesses, sometimes better than this. Not discounting this art, but why does this one make it to the blue as opposed to the others? It's flat and really, I was expecting... more from the description. As another poster said, the costumes look pretty much the same, with only minor changes to the design.

/stickinthemud

(I apologize if that offends anyone.)
posted by Malice at 11:50 AM on June 17, 2011


Post them.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


why does this one make it to the blue as opposed to the others?

because somebody posted it
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2011


Another contemporary engraving of Pocahontas - though perhaps this artist actually saw the subject.

Pocahontas did travel to England and was received by King James, so that engraving may have a stronger claim to authenticity. I think it was the inspiration for this costume.


According to Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio (who wrote Aladdin) it's set in 8 A.D.

Well that's just stupid.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:27 PM on June 17, 2011


John Smith described Pocahontas as "a child of twelve or thirteen years of age" when he met her in 1608.

Another contemporary engraving of Pocahontas - though perhaps this artist actually saw the subject.

That's after she had married John Rolfe, changed her name to Rebecca Rolfe, and they'd moved to England in 1616.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:23 PM on June 17, 2011


Disney did their own versions of that outfit, too.
posted by Gordafarin at 6:04 PM on June 17, 2011


My favourite is the tiger with Jasmine. And her version of Jasmine is no more historically accurate than the sweatpants and t-shirt I'm wearing as I type this comment.
posted by bardophile at 5:13 AM on June 18, 2011


Historical accuracy = grime, mostly.

Sadly, longbaugh, I've attended lectures at the Kalamazoo Medieval Conference by academics who know no more about historical accuracy than you. So, I guess you have a college-level understanding. But wrong.

As are these "historically acurate" costumes. Mostly, they're only a little more accurate than the Disney originals, except where they're no better (Pocohontas, Jasmine).
posted by IAmBroom at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2011


IAmBroom - I do actually believe that "grime, mostly" is applicable throughout vast periods of human existence. I can cite you a number of examples where my description is entirely apt if you'd like?

Kalamazoo Medieval Conference appears to be specifically focused on one particular period of human history whilst my (admittedly flippant) comment covered "all of it" rather than just a short period in one, albeit fairly large, locale.

With regards to my having a "college-level understanding"? Could you try and sound a bit less like the pony-tailed fellow in Good Will Hunting? As it happens I haven't even attended college but I have read a lot more, and more widely, than most college students. I don't appreciate being talked to like the village idiot, particularly since you gave no evidence showing my statement to be false.

If you'd like to recommend some books to me to further my understanding I'll happily take your recommendations and add them to my reading list but if you care about knowledge at all you're going about sharing it the wrong way and might want to take a look at that.
posted by longbaugh at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2011


longbaugh - IAmBroom was a bit harsh, but I think they were just trying to make the point that while historic people did not bathe as often as modern western people do (we're a bit extreme), that nonetheless the griminess of historic people has been exagerrated, particularly for the medieval period. Recent research shows that bathing was done much more often than popular history relates.

Except in England - they were filthy there.

seriously, I heard a paper on bathing and its importance in the medieval period, and the historian had tons of evidence for regular bathing in Italy, France, Germany - but not from England..
posted by jb at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2011


nonetheless the griminess of historic people has been exagerrated, particularly for the medieval period.

They may have bathed more than popularly believed, but I'm not sure how they are supposed to have kept their clothes un-grimy when regularly walking through streets covered in mud and shit and piss.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on June 20, 2011


Bill Bryson's At home goes into a light, glib airport paperback history of bathing in Europe and yes, the English seemed uniquely adverse to regular baths.

If nothing else the book had an amazing bibliography if you want to read up on the development of bathing I Eng,and at least.
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on June 20, 2011


They may have bathed more than popularly believed, but I'm not sure how they are supposed to have kept their clothes un-grimy when regularly walking through streets covered in mud and shit and piss.
posted by Justinian at 6:03 PM on June 20 [+] [!]


Well... I just listened to a podcast from another medieval historian who says that the archeological record suggests that the streets weren't covered in mud and shit and piss - and the historical record shows lots of street cleaning, etc.

for more details - it's podcast 28 on this page.
posted by jb at 9:54 PM on June 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


jb: That was really fun and informative. Thank you.
posted by bardophile at 3:09 AM on June 22, 2011


Oh hey she just posted Auroa from Sleeping Beauty.
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that she gave her a proper spindle.

Pricking one's finger on a wheel? What nonsense.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:08 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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