November 18, 2020 By Maurizio Lalo Off

To Arendelle! The Magical Costumes of Frozen!

Bringing the show’s Nordic world to life on stage is the task of the two-time Tony Award winner, who designed the set and costumes for Frozen. We’ve already talked about the ideas behind the Norwegian costumes, with ten photos illustrating what we’re talking about, including four character portraits that have not yet been released. Here is the story of the magical costumes of Frozen!


The film has a look designed by the costume designer, and this look translates easily into real fabric and body, but real clothes have to do justice to these people. Some of the animated garments are behaving under the effects of physics and gravity, so they need to be simplified; others need to be further reworked to find their balance; some of their shapes have been slightly reduced because people have physical bodies, while some animated features are slimmer and more delicate, such as the hips in general. You can also add details that are not so easy to achieve with animated garments. For example, there is a lot of embroideries that becomes much more specific and embroidered because you have to redraw it every single frame. 

It’s a pleasure to be able to delve into these details, but it’s also a lot of work, especially for a movie with such a large number of characters. 


The colors are muted and dark, but they are the perfect match for Elsa’s dark blue dress and the color of her hair. It is earthy and heavy, but still beautiful and elegant; it is a dress that represents the burden of being a queen and calling the shots. Eric Winterling also did a great job of creating the coronation dress Elsa (Caissie Levy) wears. The color is muted, somber, and forms a perfect contrast to the bright blue of the dress she wears for the coronation scene. 

There are shops selling contemporary versions, and museums that have collections of antique versions, so you can see how they have evolved and changed. Elsa later transforms into a much lighter, more seductive dress that deliberately belies the extravagant, crystalline couture that was to come. There is still a way to dress up for festivals and occasions, but there is a lot of research that can be done by visiting books in Norway. 


Nobody wants to make you look as classically perfect as possible, but it turns out that everything that seems to be is not what you should be looking for. The costumes for Hans John Riddle are from Arel Studio, which is tailored to a wide range of styles, from classic to modern, and even a bit of everything in between. 

The truth is that we’ve looked at every single actor and figured out how best to show him on the show. The Jennifer Love-inspired Sami mountain outfit for Hans John Riddle is the brightest one in the film, and some of it has to do with allusions to the original design. 


It’s a big, colorful show and when it’s very dark it gets too dark, so we wanted to make sure Jelani showed up a little bit more. He is much lithe and elegant, but his shoulders have been widened to give him a more robust physique. The characters in the animated feature are beed, which is a little different from their real-life counterparts. One of the most important people a costume designer has to satisfy is the actor who wears the costume, whether it is the actor, the director, or even just the actors themselves, you have to feel you have to do what is required. 

So the most important thing when designing a new costume is a practicality to use and safety, but we also think about the personnel in the wardrobe. The next day we prepare the costume, maintain and decorate it and clean it long after the curtain has fallen to keep it intact. 

The dresses are the shortcut to wonder! These magical costumes of Frozen serve their purpose perfectly!

More costumes: Hamilton, Wicked, and The Phantom!