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Issue 17 Out Now

The Intricate Design Elements of Princess Elodie's Wedding Dress in Netflix's Damsel

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Netflix’s fantasy movie Damsel introduces audiences to a unique twist on the typical princess trope. The film centers around Princess Elodie, played by Millie Bobby Brown, who finds herself in a perilous situation after her fairy tale wedding takes an unexpected turn. While the movie’s plot offers a fresh take on the traditional damsel in distress narrative, the intricate design elements of Princess Elodie’s wedding dress truly captivate audiences. In this article, we will explore Elodie's gown's hidden details and symbolic features, shedding light on the thought and creativity of its creation.


Symbolic Growth Reflected in Layers

Elodie’s dress in Damsel serves as a visual representation of her growth and transformation throughout the film. Each layer of the gown reflects a different stage in Elodie’s journey, from innocent princess to vengeful warrior. The dress becomes a metaphorical and practical tool for her survival.


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The outermost layer of Elodie’s wedding dress is adorned with gold, symbolizing the extravagance of her new position and family. However, as the story progresses and Elodie finds herself in the dragon’s pit, she sheds the gown layer after layer. Each discarded layer reveals a purer and more innocent white fabric underneath. Finally, she is left with only a red chemise, representing the woman and vengeful warrior she has become.


According to the film’s costume designer, Amanda Monk, Elodie’s wedding dress went through 17 stages of deconstruction before the film’s end. 85 costumes were constructed for this single gown, showcasing the attention to detail and intricate craftsmanship involved in its creation.


The Bodice Dagger as a Weapon

In traditional high-born lady expectations, a bodice dagger makes a woman stand up straight. However, Elodie’s bodice dagger in Damsel takes on a different purpose. Once trapped in the dragon’s pit, the dagger becomes Elodie’s only true weapon. This unexpected use of an oppressive tool for self-defense makes a powerful statement in the film.


Netflix


The bodice dagger's incorporation into Elodie’s dress challenges societal norms and expectations. It highlights her transformation into a strong, independent character who refuses to conform to traditional gender roles. The dagger becomes a symbol of her defiance and determination to survive.


The Bone Farthingale and Elodie’s Liberation

Elodie’s wedding gown in Damsel features a whalebone farthingale and a broad cage that gives the skirt body. Inspired by Spanish fashion, this element is a literal and figurative hindrance for Elodie. While the farthingale adds to the gown’s extravagance, it also represents the metaphorical cage from which Elodie must free herself.


The New York Times


In one pivotal scene, Elodie attempts to escape from the dragon through a narrow passage within the caves. However, her bone farthingale gets stuck, symbolizing the princess she had been forced to become. Elodie must free herself from this literal cage before becoming a survivor. This moment of liberation represents her shedding the constraints of her previous life and embracing her newfound strength.


Extravagance Inspired by Spanish and Italian Styles

To accurately represent the iconography of a princess, Elodie’s dress in Damsel needed to be truly extravagant. Costume designer Amanda Monk left no stone unturned in creating a gown that would capture the audience’s imagination. The fabric for the gown was sourced directly from Italy, ensuring its authenticity and opulence.


Netflix


Inspired by Spanish and Italian styles, each bodice of Elodie’s gown was meticulously hand-embroidered in the Spanish style, taking four whole days to complete. These intricate details add to the richness and authenticity of the costume, transporting viewers into the fantasy world of Damsel.


The Illusion of Confinement in Elodie’s Sleeves


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Elodie’s dress in Damsel features sleeves that contribute to her illusion of being confined or caged. The bone detailing in the sleeves creates a visual effect, making it appear like the princess is tightly strapped into her wedding dress. This element adds to the gown's overall design, emphasizing the contrast between Elodie’s outward appearance and her inner strength.


Interestingly, these constricting cages become a valuable asset for Elodie in her journey. She tears off the sleeves and repurposes them to house glow worms, creating a whimsical lantern that guides her through the dragon’s caves. This creative use of the dress’s design elements showcases Elodie’s resourcefulness and adaptability.


The Versatile Scented Pomander

Elodie’s wedding dress in Damsel features a golden pomander hanging from her hip. Historically, pomanders were used to mask unpleasant odors in the Tudor era. In the film, Elodie’s pomander contains a block of wax or oil that she later burns as a makeshift lantern in the dragon’s caves.


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The elegant pomander serves as both a practical tool and a beautiful accessory. It highlights Elodie’s ingenuity and resourcefulness in using the dress’s design elements to her advantage. This versatile element adds another layer of functionality to the gown, showcasing the attention to detail in its creation.


The Ironic Crown and Elodie’s Liberation

The final detail of Elodie’s wedding look in Damsel is the crown. Ironically, the crown is detailed with dragons, paying homage to the kingdom’s debt to the creature threatening Elodie’s life. Placing the dragon-detailed crown on Elodie’s head after her marriage becomes a cruel irony when it is revealed that she was intended as a sacrifice.


Netflix


However, the crown also becomes a valuable tool for Elodie’s escape. She uses it as an anchor to climb out of the cave, demonstrating her determination and resourcefulness. This scene is another powerful reflection of Elodie’s liberation, as her garb, which was meant to be a shroud, symbolizes her strength and independence.


The intricate design elements of Princess Elodie’s wedding dress in Damsel are a testament to the thought and creativity of creating the character’s visual journey. From the layers symbolizing her growth to the versatile elements that aid her survival, the dress is a powerful metaphor for Elodie’s transformation from a princess to a vengeful warrior.


Through the attention to detail and craftsmanship in the gown’s creation, the costume designer effectively communicates Elodie’s defiance of traditional gender roles and her determination to forge her path. The dress becomes more than just a costume; it becomes a character in its own right, enriching the storytelling and captivating audiences.


As viewers watch Damsel, they are immersed in a magical fantasy world and witness the empowering journey of a young princess breaking free from the confines of societal expectations. Princess Elodie’s wedding dress symbolizes strength, resilience, and liberation, inspiring audiences to embrace their inner warriors.

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