Emma Watson’s Beauty And The Beast Bodice Was Handcrafted By Indian Artisans

by: Rosie Dalton | 3 weeks ago | News

Image: Emma Watson’s handcrafted bodice in Beauty and the Beast. Image source.

Emma Watson has been a wonderful advocate for ethical fashion for quite some time now, backing up positive words with the wardrobe choices to match. But now the 26-year-old actress has taken this same principle to her workplace too, by encouraging costume designers that she works with to support responsibly made clothing. Sinéad O’Sullivan is the assistant costume designer of Watson’s latest film Beauty and the Beast and she recently revealed that Belle’s handcrafted bodice in the film was designed using the ‘Aari work’ technique by two Gujarati brothers, Kasam and Juma. O’Sullivan then went on to share a picture of the work from the Kutch region of Gujarat.

What this demonstrates is that Emma Watson’s commitment to ethical fashion isn’t just influencing her fans, but it’s starting to have a flow-on effect in the entertainment industry as well. In other words, it is impacting not just the garments she wears personally in her films, but also those worn by her co-stars and her fellow actors working with the same costume designers across different projects.

Minimal waste is obviously a value that’s very important to Watson, given that some of her most notable red carpet gowns include a recycled Calvin Klein dress for the 2016 Met Gala and an Emilia Wickstead gown made from end-of-line fabric for the Beauty and the Beast promotional tour. But this latest style proves that she is also passionate about supporting handcrafted too. According to O’Sullivan, the "Aari work" is a very fine chain stitch traditional to the Kutch area of Gujarat — a style that worked really well with the garment’s eighteenth century French floral design. 

“As a team, we tried to source ethical, fair-trade and sustainable fabrics wherever possible,” she explained in a separate Instagram post. “For Belle's ‘red cape look’ in particular we decided to challenge ourselves to see how difficult it would be to create a costume that was head to toe fair-trade, organic and sustainable, but which didn’t compromise [the lead costumer designer] Jacqueline’s design.” The whole team apparently got involved in this challenge and Eco Age helped out as well, by providing them with a set of criteria.

In the end, it took 12 different fabrics to make Watson’s cape, jacket, blouse, bodice, skirts and bloomers, with trims and ties — all elements of which were certified organic and fair-trade. “Our dyeing team took on the challenge of using natural and low impact dyes, and printing with traditional wood blocks, which the set carpenters helped make in the construction department, from redundant bits of the set,” O’Sullivan continued. “Some of the fabrics and trims used were vintage, including the cape which was made from hand-woven Scottish Jacob’s wool, that was then over-dyed using madder. The fabric for the jacket was made using a hand-woven linen found on E-bay, which was actually a lady in manchester’s school project from the 1960’s. The rest of the fabrics were sourced from fairtrade co-operatives in India and Nepal.”

To put it simply, the costume design team behind Beauty and the Beast were very thorough in creating Belle’s wardrobe and I can only hope that their efforts will help to inspire other costumer designers to follow suit as well.

Via Storypick

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