Belle cosplay in progress!
I’m currently making Belle’s red flower dress from the Mamoru Hosoda anime…. bought materials less than 24 hours after I watched it 🤦🏻♀️
I knew it was going to be a pretty film but I was really affected by the thoughtful story and characters! It is his best film for me personally.
Belle’s millennium parade outfit:
My hand-made costume in progress. This is where I’m at now, after about 40 - 50 hours of work.
When it came to choosing which of Belle’s numerous outfit to make, there was no doubt. The flower dress she wears during the opening parade scene completely personifies how “Belle” the avatar is perceived within the virtual world of U, and I am very weak to red costumes in general. I opted for a deep red home decor grade sateen and some darker taffetas to create a bit of color interest in the petal dress.
I made the bodice and the skirt as separate garments for better weight distribution and transportation. I think it’ll also be easier to get into the outfit this way. A lot of time was spent on the skirt, or specifically, on making and arranging the fabric petals. I ended up with about 60 petals that all had to be cut, sewn and ironed. Each petal has one layer of lightweight interfacing as well. The entire dress required 10 yards of fabric + 8 yards of interfacing.
I had to rig a hoop skirt underneath to support the weight of the petals and keep the shape of the skirt. For anyone else making this dress - get an A-line hoop skirt or alter a regular hoop skirt into an A-line. You’ll need that under structure.
I also obtained a myriad of flowers which I airbrushed to give them more color depth and make them look more expensive.
Airbrushing is a great way to spruce up cheap dollar-store fake florals, I highly recommend it!
I got about 10 different kinds of flowers in varying sizes and approached the construction 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.
After a few hours, I had a bouquet! Yes, I understand that my costume can’t be thrown in the washing machine but many film and TV costumes can only be spot-cleaned so I’m fully willing to spot-clean the Belle bodice. This is also why I made the skirt separately.
The decision to cosplay Belle is entirely predictable 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. I have always had a soft spot for dramatic anime where music played a central role so I was 100% invested in Belle 2 minutes in. 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.
I love that cosplay can STILL inspire me to throw myself into a project with reckless abandon.
I hope you will go see Belle if you have the chance! I will be back with full cosplay photos just as soon as it warms up a bit in Atlanta!