This weekend, while watching some children’s films, I realized that the characters’ outfits are simply amazing. Every one of these animated films could definitely inspire a look. 

As all parents know, a lot of what we watch at home is controlled by our kids. This is why, in my house, we’re normally watching cartoons and other animated films. This past weekend, my mind was 100% in “Oscars Mode,” and I couldn’t stop thinking about what the actresses would be wearing on the red carpet. While waiting for the event, I was watching a movie on Disney+, thinking how amazing it would be if we were to see one of these dresses on the red carpet. 

Since having that thought, I started been thinking about which looks from these movies I’d love to wear. Then, I recalled the Spring 2021 runways and remembered that a lot of the pieces were inspired by some of my favorite animated films. 

Anastasia (1997)

In this movie, we watch as Russia’s last duchess, Anastasia Romanov, travels in search of a home. Not only is the story captivating but it has a positive message for young girls. Anastasia is independent; she’s not looking for love or a man to rescue her. She defends herself and speaks her mind. It’s some real girl power! 

These cartoons could inspire

And, the clothes! Starting with the first look—an oversized military green trench—everything seems to have come straight from the runway. How could we forget the lilac organdy and tulle mini-dress from Chanel? But, what I really loved was the navy blue dress paired with a diamond choker that the protagonist wears to the opera. 

This season we saw variations of that dress on the runway. For example, Dior gave us a more bohemian take on the look, and Temperley London gave us a version with gauzy sleeves and sequins. We also saw some more classic silhouettes from Marchesa and Etro. All of these looks had the same timeless, elegant feel that Anastasia’s look did. 

Mulan (1998)

Every time I watch this movie I think about the art of applying makeup. The makeup in the first scene, in which Mulan is getting ready to go to the matchmaker’s, is just incredible. Like Anastasia, Mulan is self-sufficient and tenacious. Our heroine quickly switches out her lipstick and blush for her sword, bow, and arrow. She’s ready to save the world. 

These cartoons could inspire

The movie is full of moments and music that have become famous all around the world. But, it’s at the end of the film when we see one of the most gorgeous looks. Right after Mulan saves the emperor and returns home, we see a wrap dress that strikes a balance between femininity and masculinity. 

The trend towards more genderless looks has been in the making for several seasons already. Outfits that combine traditionally masculine aspects like pants with traditionally feminine details like form-fitting wrap jackets could be seen from Tod’s to Giorgio Armani in the Spring 2021 shows. Short, straight-fit dresses styled with belts, like we saw from Brunello Cucinelli, or patterned kimono-style pieces, like we saw from MSGM, are also a nod to this trend. 

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

This is one of my favorite princess films. I also have to admit that I love the live-action version with Emma Watson. Belle is independent, and she likes to read, study, and be free. She fights for her loved ones and is strong when faced with adversity. She is certainly a modern role model stuck in a fairy tale. 

These cartoons could inspire

Another thing I love is her simple sense of style. The first dress, a French countryside look in light blue with white details, is a classic. Then, she changes into a magenta cape with a hood—perfect for winter. But, no dress is more memorable than that of her waltz with the Beast.  

That yellow dress has become iconic. And, every season, we see a version of it in many designers’ collections. For Spring 2021, Alberta Ferretti gave us a lighter, wispier version of this dress. Zimmerman transformed it into the perfect sundress. And, Elie Saab and Lavin gave us sensational evening gowns in the style, as unique as Belle herself. 

101 Dalmations (1961)

We can’t talk about fashion without talking about Cruella de Vil. The villain of this film is perhaps the most glamorous character Disney has ever made. Her style has established her as a style icon, but before I continue, let’s get one thing straight: I would never suggest making a coat from dalmatians.  

These cartoons could inspire

That said, I think all fashion lovers would agree that the first look Cruella wears in the movie embodies Parisian luxury. The cigarette, the little black dress, the fur coat, and those carmine red kitten heels. This is, to this day, practically a uniform for many Parisians.

That’s why we continue to see similar looks on the runways of the world’s best designers. From New York to Paris, we’re always seeing something that reminds us of this character. This season we saw faux fur coats from Gucci, fur-lined coats from Paco Rabanne, fur necklines and sleeves from Moschino, and black fur details from Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

Each of the characters I’ve mentioned is incredible and inspiring in a variety of ways—whether from the point of view of female empowerment or simply when thinking about great fashion. These are strong, independent women who don’t’ conform. Yes, even Cruella. Each has her own style that reflects her personality. 

And, there are many more looks where these came from. Inspiration can come from anywhere. I think that the best-dressed people are those who go beyond the season’s trends and turn to other aspects of culture to infuse their style with something special.

So, the next time you’re not sure what to wear and you need some inspiration, check out your favorite childhood film. 



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