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Belle (Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime)


Brian Boling, World of Gwendana

Why I chose to make this costume:

This costume was inevitable.

I saw Mamoru Hosoda's film "Belle" (Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime) in mid January 2022 and decided within the first 3 minutes of the opening scene to make this dress.

Cosplaying Belle is actually super predicatble for me, given my history of cosplaying idol singers, especially ones from the Macross series. Sharon Apple, another virtual singer who moves the world with her songs, was one of my first cosplays ever. Without a doubt, Hosoda was inspired by Macross Plus, so this cosplay is my own little homage to Sharon Apple and the power of music.

Belle has some gorgeous outfits throughout the film but I chose the flower dress because it completely personifies how “Belle” the avatar is perceived within the virtual world of U, and because I am very weak to red costumes in general.

How I made this costume:

Construction stats:
❤️ The costume is made from scratch, with the main dress constructed out of home decor grade sateen in a gorgeous wine red color. The bodice is lined and boned and I conciously decided to make it a separate piece from the skirt for easier transport and better weight distribution.
🌺 The skirt features about 60 fabric petals, each sewn with a layer of lightweight interfacing within. I spent about two days sewing the petals and pinning them onto the base circle skirt until I got the placement I wanted. Then I attached the overskirt tail and finished everything off with a waistband. I butchered an old hoopskirt to wear underneath since the weight of the petals caused the skirt to lose its shape. With the hoopskirt, it stayed up perfectly.
❤️ I also made the arm warmers, wings and bow which snap onto the dress. The wings and bows have EVA foam and wire inside to help the shape.
🌺 There are about 10 different types of flowers on this costume, including peonies, lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, poppies, hydrangea, bird of paradise and even a lotus flower! To get the costume done faster (and back to my regular work), I bought fake floral bouquets online, cut them apart and airbrushed the flower heads to give them more color depth and make them match better.
❤️ When it came to embellishing the bodice with the flowers, I literally approached it like a floral arrangement. First, I pinned flowers on and changed the configuration until I was happy. Then… I, err, hot glued the flowers directly onto my dress 😅. Believe it or not, hot glue is a great way to attach florals to fabric, because it creates a strong permanent bond and you can adjust the angle of the flower as it’s cooling. I used the same method to create the matching headband.
🌺 When it came to Belle's long pink hair, I simply trimmed my Zero Two wig, which originally came from @ardawigs. The contacts are Candy Blue from @uniqso.
❤️ I did the white face makeup freehand from reference using Kryolan cream paint.

To see progress photos of this costume, check out my Belle blog post!

Thoughts on this costume:

Rarely has a film, character and costume design sparked such an obsession in me so fast! After watching the film, I quite literally put my life on hold for a week to make this costume from scratch because I couldn’t exist without it 😱!

I'm very happy with the finished outfit and my makeup, but the wig… omg it is impossible to not tangle it in the flowers! Belle is DEFINITELY a virtual character 😂. That design + long hair doesn’t work IRL! I have to move very carefully and keep a brush nearby whenever I'm in this costume haha.

Still, this has been one of the funnest costumes I've ever crafted and I enjoyed every second of it!

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