'Cinderella' 's Costumes: Everything You Want to Know

And you thought tracking down the girl in the glass slippers sounded hard: Costume designer Sandy Powell was tasked with the challenge of bringing the classic fairytale to life on the big screen

01 of 05

CINDERELLA'S PRINCESS MOMENT

CINDERELLA'S PRINCESS MOMENT
Sandy Powell/Disney; Jonathan Olley/Disney

Oh, the things our 8-years-old selves would have done to trade places with Lily James, who says she gasped when she slipped on the iconic ball gown for the first time. “I couldn’t believe it was me,” Cinderella’s leading lady tells PEOPLE. “I felt kind of invincible in it, and I felt like I could really be a princess.” It was the only thing standing (literally) between her and her on-screen prince, Richard Madden, who joked, “There were three of us in the relationship. It was Cinderella, her dress and me!”

02 of 05

THE WICKEDLY STYLISH STEPMOTHER

THE WICKEDLY STYLISH STEPMOTHER
Sandy Powell/Disney; Jonathan Olley/Disney

The muse behind “startling and stunning” look? Costume designer Sandy Powell says she was inspired by ’40s sirens like Joan Crawford. “She likes clothes, and she knows how to wear them,” Powell says of Blanchett.

03 of 05

ELEGANT & INTIMIDATING

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Sandy Powell/Disney; Jonathan Olley/Disney

“I knew I wanted Cate to look elegant and sophisticated,” says Powell. “As quite often happens, when you get the perfectly dressed woman, like absolutely immaculate perfectly – not a hair out of place – that’s actually quite intimidating.”

04 of 05

THE PRETTY STEPSISTERS

THE PRETTY STEPSISTERS
Sandy Powell/Disney; Jonathan Olley/Disney

“We were never going to actually make them ugly,” says Powell of the not-so-dynamic duo, played by Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera. “They’re ugly from within, so we wanted them to be pretty and vain and silly.”

05 of 05

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
Sandy Powell/Disney; Jonathan Olley/Disney

Helena Bonham Carter played the Fairy Godmother, whose task of transforming Cinderella into a princess seemed easy when compared to Powell’s task of making the Godmother’s gown light up. “Oh my God. This might not work,” Powell worried at the time. Spoiler alert: It turned out quite magical, but “we should have just done a simple dress.”

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