Today I have a very exciting blog for you all and it is going to be on a recent trip I made up to London to see the Cinderella Exhibition in trafalgar square and to have Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea at the Conrad Hotel.
For those of you who are not aware of the current happenings in the Disney franchise, Disney have lately been launching a number of live action films, remakes of the much loved classics. Beginning with Alice in Wonderland (2010) and then with Maleficent (2014) and with Cinderella this year.
For those of you who have not yet seen the trailer, it is linked below so you may catch up with it.
In this blog today I am going to be talking about the trip, the outfits and reviewing the experience as a whole to give you all an insight as to what it was like to see the exhibition and the afternoon tea.
So I hope you enjoy!
Watch The Vlog
I filmed a vlog of the day which you can watch below I also recorded an audio description to accompany it for the sections where the music is playing and I have muted the sound.
The exhibition itself was held in Leicester Square, London and it was a Free exhibition to visit. When I spoke to the staff in the shop after the exhibition they did inform me that it was apparently rumoured to be touring in other parts of the Uk although they could not tell me for sure. However, I will be keeping a sharp eye (if you will pardon the pun as I only have one eye to see through) and i will publicise any information I find out.
The exhibition consisted of all the original costumes and some props from the film and most of them were not available to touch, however there were staff available to talk to about the exhibition and who were able to describe the clothing to you.
However, moving onto talking about the exhibition, it was held in a pop up room like the ones you would find at London Fashion Weekend and it consisted of a number of different sections from the film and around the Cinderella Franchise.
The first part was themed around the original 1950s production of Cinderella and incorporated a number of beautiful paintings from the film such as the famous carriage scene as it traveled across the darkened landscape to the castle. There was also an original sketch from from the film depicting the scene were Cinderella and the Prince dance. It is a close up of their faces as they dance.
There was also a beautiful prop which was a model of an open book with the Cinderella artwork on it with that classic opening scene look to it of the ‘Once Upon a Time’ sequence when you see a book opening in the classic films and the film sequence.
Cinderella’s Early Life
Next after the first part of the exhibition you walked through an opening and into a room that was decorated to look like a period style living room was light yellow floral print wallpapering candelabras in the walls deep green woodwork panelling edging to the ceilings and a light green polished spiral staircase. This part of the exhibition was themed around the early parts of the film in which tell the story of Cinderella’s early life when her mother dies and her father marries again for stability and then enter the evil stepmother and her two daughters which i might add are not at all ugly in the original fairy tales which is why I am pleased that Disney amended this in the new film.
The first dress that catches your eye is the striking costume wore by the stepmother played by Oscar winning Kate Blanchett, the dress consists of two main colours a deep emerald green and black. In the film the costume designer Sandy Powell said that the main colour she wanted the stepmother to wear in the film was a deep green to symbolise her jealousy of Cinderella. Whats more her outfits are mostly very striking consisting of jewel like colours, sharp angles and patterns as she is a striking women but mothering and soft she is not.
The first outfit consists of a large black wide brimmed had perched on her head, she wears black velvet long gloves and her dressis green with a black floral print on it, the collar also incorporates a black velvet bow and her skirt is a long trailing black with green floral detailing to the hem.
The next two costumes that you see are the dresses worn by the stepsisters, which I will again stress that they are fair in looks by ugly in spirit. The first dress worn by Drusella is of a yellow colour with pink flowers over it which appear to be peonies, it is cap sleeved and has a sheer peter pan collar and is finished of with a black belt, the skirt is a knife pleated skirt and ends at the ankle. The outfit is teamed with delicate white crochet gloves and a little yellow silk bag and a yellow bonnet style hat. Anastasia’s outfit is identical in design, however the only difference is that her dress and accessories are all in a deep shade of pink.
The next outfit you see is the one worn by Cinderella throughout the majority of the film, it is a light blue dress with rousting to the cust area and sleeves. it has a rounded neckline and 2.4 length sleeves which are in a sheer material and the skirt is long ending just above the ankle.. The mannequin is depicted to be holding some Lavender in one hand.
The Pumpkin to Carriage
The next part of the exhibition was truly magical in appearance and it consisted of a darkened room to represent the eve of the ball, on the left side there was a stack of Pumpkins on a hay bale. In a class cabinet there are a number of little white mice figurines, detailed with lifelike furr, beady eyes and are depicted to be crouching on their hind legs.
On the right hadn side there are two more costumes, the first is the light pink dress that Cinderella fashions from her mothers old dress in the film when she has desires to go to the ball. The dress has a knife pleat skirt, cap sleeves and has been ripped in places such as the sleeves and collar line.
Next to that is the dress worn by the Fairy God Mother when she poses as an old beggar woman it is long sleeved, with a long long hem and features a hood. It is in a deep metallic grey colour and despite it simplistic appearance it too retains a beauty that foreshadows the later dress that she will wear.
The next dress that we see is the one worn by The Fairy Godmother after she reveals to Cinderella who she truly is and transforms into a glittering, bomb bombshell. The dress has a huge under cage which gives the skirt is huge, architectural appearance. Helen Bohan Carter herself claimed that ‘I was wearing a piece of architecture’ and indeed it is it also has thosands of little LED lights on tiny wires in the dress to make it light u, giving it is majestic appearance. It in in a crystal white colour with a shimmer to the material, with a large ruff to the collar and batwing sleeves and this dress is truly one of the most visually intricate dresses in the film.
The next part of the exhibition was without a doubt my favourite, because it was something that people with sight loss could actually touch as they went through it. To get through to the next part of the exhibition you had to walk through a tunnel which one one side had been made to look like a pumpkin at the opening in a rich orange colour and as you walked through the tunnel there were hundreds of light purple LED slights on the walls and ceiling as you walked through. They cast a beautiful magical glow on the floor as you walked through making you feel as if you too were Cinderella.
When you walked through to the other side you found yourself greeted with the side of a beautiful outline of the Carriage from the film which was gold and very ornate with damask dealing and huge gold wheels.
You could also have your photograph taken next to the carriage and purchase it as a souvenir at the shop which I did.
The next part that you entered after the visual spectacle of the Carriage Tunnel as I like to now think of it was the Ballroom.
As you walked into the ballroom part of the exhibition you saw a number of gold framed paintings depicting Cinderella at the ball as she exits the golden carriage, makes her way down the stairs and finally meets the Prince.
Now what would the Cinderella Exhibition be without a glimpse of the iconic Glass Slipper? Yes indeed, there it was, the beautiful slipper fashioned by Swarovski in a sleek design with a little butterfly resting at the front of the shoe. It was on a rotating wheel so you could see it from every angle and as the crystal caught the light they reflected around the whole room creating a stunning rainbow effect.
The ballroom itself was the epitome of decadence, with gold ornate detailing to the walls, arched doorways, gold candleabras, purple benches to sit on and black and white checkered flooring. In the centre of the room was an assortmeent of the outfits that the characters wore including the Stepmother, Stepsisters, the Prince and Cinderella.
At the back there were a number of different dresses wore by the Princesses at the ball and what they show is the difference in their cultures, as the Princesses in the film are summoned from around the world in a bid to win the favour of the Prince and the outfits all deeply reflect that. There is one that is Oriental in Style, one from the Africa and one that appears to be Spanish or something of that nature.
Cinderella’s dress was truly a show stopper and one that I am sure Sandy Powell is proud to have under her belt. It is in a light crystal blue colour with a huge, full skirt trailing down to the floor, it has a fitted torso and the neckline is in a sweetheart or the shoulder design detailed with little butterflies giving it that quintessential Princess look that we all adore from disney films. What makes the dress so special is the amount of Swarovski Crystals that the dress features over 1 million Swarovski crystals when into making the dress. So I am sure you can imagine how much the skirt glittered as it caught the light, the skirt had so much movement to it, almost as it if was made of air or water in the trailer when she dances or runs the skirt looks like it is made of nothing at all.
The princess outfit is also very decadent consisting of a cream long jacket with gold detailing to the buttons and light blue edging to the sleeves, fitted trousers, dark black knee high boots .
The stepmother’s outfit was very striking in appearance made from a satin material in a jade green colour and paired with gold sating gloves and a gold fan. She wears a gold statement necklace, matching earrings and a gold feather fascinator. The dress itself is very long and made with lots of sharp angles and crouching to give it a bold structural shape, perfect as she skulks through the crows observing the girl in the astounding blue dress. Practically green with envy, just like her dress.
The stepsister’s dresses are equally as striking as their mothers in the film, they are both the same in style accept Anastasia’s dress is in a deep pink and Drusella’s is in a lime green colour. They are made in a very feminine outline with a fitted bodice and full skirt trailing down to the feet. Each dress is detailed with flowers in beautiful jewel like colours in larger shapes at the hem and smaller more intricate ones around the neckline. Each have a matching statement necklace and a fan in the same shade astheir dresses and finished with matching satin gloves.
The Final Part
The final part of the exhibition consisted of a number of images of the characters costumes such as the opening costume worn by the Stepmother on her first entrance, the ball outfits of the Prince and Cinderella and the Fairy Godmothers outfit. Each ahve an accompanying sketch next to them drawn by the costume designer and some information on a prominent feature of their outfit whether that be colour, style, detailing or an interesting fact.
There is also a class cabinet which features the striking gold and green leaf shaped jewellery worn by the Stepmother during the final scene of the film.
You could also have your picture taken in the Glass Slipper of course this was a digital affect and alas not the real one. The picture was free and would be send to your email address.
And that concludes the Cinderella exhibition in a nutshell.
If you would like to know more about the exhibition don’t forget to check out the podcast channel I co found with Laura Legendary called Fashionability for an episode in which I will be talking about the exhibition.
Click here to view the channel.
Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Afternoon Tea
Now onto the second part of this blog which is talking about the afternoon tea that myself and my mother had at the Conrad Hotel in Westminster and was themed around Alice in Wonderland.
Click here to view the Afternoon tea.
The afternoon tea was served in the restaurant which was decorated with green armchairs with floral a pattern, white and green sofas, black tables and an assortment of flowers in the centre of the room including Orchids and Lillies.
At the back of the room there was a large image of Alice in Wonderland depicting a blond haired girl in a land full of flowers and toadstools.
The table was laid out with silver teapots and teacups, a silver tea stand and delicate white china cups and plaits all looking very decadent.
The waiter then came to introduce himself and to present us with the tea menus in which you can choose whichever tea you like whether that be Herbal Tea, English Breakfast Tea, Fruit tea and so on.
The waiter then returned with the first part of the afternoon tea, as it is served in two stages the first consisting of an assortment of finger sandwiches such as egg, salmon, ham and tomato and cucumber.
There was also a cracker, a small spoonful of salmon pate with caviar and a ham roll.
There were also two scones for each person made with vanilla and orange, which tasted utterly delicious and were served with fresh clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The second course was served on a silver tray and was incredibly colourful and whimsical to look at and all themed around the book Alice in Wonderland.
There were two on the tray for each person, all baring the chocolate gnash cake.
There was a Earl Grey Panacotta served in a white china cup with a little gingerbread Eat Me biscuit. There was also a little jam tart made with a heart in the centre. Alongside this there was an elderflower macaroon, a strawberry and raspberry Victoria spongue cake and the icing had been made to look like a rose. There was also a little lemon tart and the icing was made to look like two little read toastalls. Finally there was a large chocolate cake which you could half between two people and eatable white dusting.
All in all the afternoon tea was absolutely delicious and one of my current favourite ones too date, as some of you may know who have followed my blog for some time i am a huge lover of Afternoon Tea and regularly visit different ones and this is currently one of my favourites and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a love of anything quirky and who has a sweet tooth.
The staff were extremely friendly and attentive and the facilities were all fantastic.
Children are welcome in this establishment and the dress code is smart casual.
Now onto the final scoring.
Conrad London St. James
22-28 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BH
Click here to view the hotel website.
The venue was very accessible and the venue is easy to access and all on one level, the lounge itself was spacious and easy for someone with a wheelchair or assistance to gain entrance too. On the website it states that no dogs are permitted accept Guide Dogs (which is of course compulsory for all public places) and there is also Disabled Access.
The staff were extremely friendly and the service was fantastic, the staff regularly checked in to ensure that the food was satisfactory. The receptionists and the doormen were also very helpful too.
Quality of Service: 5/5
The food was absolutely incredible as was the tea and the venue was stylish, airy, spacious, well light and very comfortable. All in all an absolutely must visit to anyone with a love of afternoon tea.
So, that concludes my blog for today, I really hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel tomorrow (Sunday) at 9.30am for a brand new video.
Until next time.