Something I really appreciate about the new BATB film is that the costumes managed to (1) pay perfect homage to the original color tones and styles as seen in the animation and yet (2) carry symbolic changes and account for characters’ personalities, while also (3) being period appropriate. Like, wow. Major kudos to the costume designer and associated staff on this one.
For example, let’s just talk about Beast/Prince wardrobe, which I find really interesting and beautiful. BATB begins with a dance, and the Prince is in this very dark, regal yet kind of gaudy clothing, standing out from the sea of women in white. (He’s also wearing a makeup mask, which is just another awesome layer of symbolism and era-appropriateness that I will not go into right now.)
Throughout the film, Beast’s clothes get progressively lighter: from dark, torn rags (like he’s a criminal, a prisoner in his own palace) to the iconic lighter blue suit at the dance…to the moment Belle declares her love and they’re both dressed in all white (in this case, a symbol of purity and absolution)…to the very end, where the Prince wears blue again, but this time it’s the lightest shade of blue we see him wear. This change also reminds me of the trailer, where the word “Beast” in the title grows lighter as it gets closer to the word “Belle”. Beast’s subtle clothing changes represent the changes in his disposition and character. His wardrobe follows the path of the curse, from its inception to completion, as the castle goes from dark to light, from winter to spring, from death to life.
The two other dance scenes are also important.
When Belle and Beast dance together for the first time, Belle is the one who stands out in that stunning yellow dress. When Beast lets her go, her yellow dress positively pops in an otherwise monochrome, snow-covered forest, like a beacon in the night. And as he watches her go, he returns to rags, representing his hope leaving him behind.
In contrast, when Belle and the Prince dance together at the end, they both stand apart from the crowd but for different reasons than before. Unlike their first dance, this time the Prince is the one who shines the most in an otherwise temperate crowd, which parallels the opening dance scene. Unmasked, the Prince is in a light blue and white suit, the opposite of how he dressed before; and yet, this ending suit almost matches how Belle was dressed at the beginning of the movie, in her classic blue and white dress. Meanwhile, although at first glance Belle’s mostly white dress at the end might make her appear like just another girl in the crowd, she really stands out due to the roses on her dress, like a physical manifestation of spring coming back to the castle and the curse being lifted.