• And the Award for Best Costume Design Goes To…

    by  • June 4, 2014 • 4 Every Girl, Movies • 1 Comment

    ElleFanning3Vanity Fair recently published a piece outlining Maleficent costume designer Anna B. Sheppard’s efforts to create an innocent, age-appropriate, non-sexualizing costume for 14-year-old Elle Fanning, who plays princess Aurora in the new Disney hit.

    “I really walked away from that [animated] image [of Aurora] completely. I wanted something really girly and innocent and also closer to nature.” With those constraints, Aurora’s off-the-shoulder necklines in the original did not make much sense. In fact, Sheppard was so intent on maintaining Aurora’s modesty that she incorporated a conservative layer of chenille under Aurora’s costumes and insisted on sleeves so long that they almost covered her hands.

    Instead of the hourglass silhouettes that [Disney animation director Marc] Davis championed in the original [1959 animated film], Sheppard strove for “very long, very fluid, and not sexy at all” shapes to Aurora’s costumes.

    It is rare and refreshing for a costume designer to not only swim against the tide of sexualizing teen girls on screen — one survey of recent film releases found that 33.8% of female teen characters on screen were depicted in sexy clothing, and 28.2% were shown with exposed skin in the cleavage, midriff or upper thigh regions — but to actively seek to emphasize innocence and modesty in the costume design.

    More importantly, audiences are embracing this vision – Maleficent’s opening weekend box office topped $70 million domestically, and $100 million internationally — especially women and familiesSixty percent of audiences for Maleficent were female, 45% families, and 18% teens.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    One Response to And the Award for Best Costume Design Goes To…

    1. MK
      June 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks for taking this step. May others follow.

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