Note: This post is originally from 2018 and it outlines the Beast costume. I’m doing limited new blogging this week as I am costuming not one but TWO virtual shows and just have a ton to do. Something will have to give and blogging is low on my priority list. However, as it happens, I did a series of posts from when we originally did Beauty and the Beast. Since we’re rebooting it this year, I thought it fitting to share the posts I wrote about the costumes.
Some are going to be revamped and changed but the Beast should remain largely the same so what you see here is likely what our Beast will be wearing.
Everything below this sentence is the original post:
Because of the complexity of the Beast costume, and because we used multiple parts for multiple costumes, I’ll do a general post on the Beast rather than break it up by costume. My two costumes were called “Basic Beast” and “Fancy Beast.” Each version involved a store bought pairs of beast pants, gloves, feet and a muscle suit for bulk. I decided against a full on fur suit to save our actors from getting overheated.
I began with the “Fancy Beast” suit because it was more complex than the basic. However, I’m going to quickly show off the Basic because it was mostly store-bought, aside from a really simple pair of pants that I made. After trying on the full costume, we ended up nixing the Beast pants as they just made the actor look fat, rather than Beast-like. We still used the feet, and hands and the mask however. I changed the original pant plan from a knicker to a long pant to hide the fact that we kept the legs bare. The costume was rounded out by the muscle suit, which had a shirt sewn to it for easy transformation purposes, and a long sweeping robe.
It was effective as his “casual” wear. We all knew it was the royal blue jacket from the waltz scene that people wanted to see! Thus, my concentrated effort for the Beast came with “Fancy Beast.”
Above is the pattern I decided to go with. I wanted to avoid something that needed a shirt under it, and this just has a basic ascot. Also, it looked close enough to the cartoon version, especially later on when I started to decorate it with gimp braid.
The fabric was a great stretch velvet from Morex Fabrics. It was the same velvet, albeit a different color, that I used for Willy Wonka Jr. last year. It’s a pain to lay out and cut but worth it for the final product.
First step was tracing and cutting. Two beasts meant two different costumes, since they were vastly different sizes. I also had to do two sets of measurements because the boys were bigger when they were wearing the muscle suits purchased to go with the costumes.
Much sewing ensued, slowly piecing together the velvet until I had the shells of two jackets put together, at which point I started to avoid this project like the plague. It wasn’t that it was hard to make, but the smaller details got tedious. For example, I had to decorate all the flaps and sleeve cuffs with gimp braid:
Though it was annoying to attach the gimp braid to the little pieces, it was really satisfying to do the trim around the whole jacket. This was the step that took it from just being a jacket to being the Beast’s jacket.
Unfortunately, this is also the stage when I appeared to have stopped taking pictures of my progress, so if you’re impatient to see the final product, simply scroll down and stop reading the narrative.
With the fancy jacket in hand, it was time to add a vest. In the early stages of dress rehearsals, the Beast had a red vest. This was my attempt at doing something a little bit different from the movies, but in the end it was much more pleasing to the eye to have a yellow vest that coordinated with Belle’s dress.
After a few dress rehearsals, it became clear that one of our Beast actors was swimming in his costumes (you can probably tell if you look at the picture above). They were just way too big. Rather than attempt to alter them and make them smaller and risk some weird altered look, I went back to the drawing board and worked on some new variations. Thus the two Beast costumes ended up being slightly different from each other in the end (probably not noticeably so to the naked eye, but the styles are slightly different).
The original intention for the Beast had been to have him wear this same outfit at the end since Belle goes back to the original ballgown. However, in order to do this, he would have to keep the muscle suit on, which ended up looking ridiculous once he was a human. And so I decided to make a human outfit for him to wear at the end.
The pattern I used was Butterick 3072. This pattern came in handy for so many projects for this show: Lumiere’s human outfit, pants for multiple characters, and the Beast human jacket (and later, the revised smaller jacket for the other Beast). The vests included with this pattern was also used for both the red and gold vests the Beast wore, as well as the silvery-blue vest he wore with his final outfit. This pattern was pure gold, and I definitely got my money’s worth out of it.
To complete the human look, I bought a beautiful navy blue jacquard fabric that called back to his earlier jacket, but also signified a new day for the Beast.
The above pictures are the same as yesterday’s for Belle’s ballgowns, but you can see the two outfits. In this case, I ended up using the same vest on both Beasts to save myself some time. This show really came down to the wire as far as costumes go, and I ran out of time to make him a new blue vest!
I haven’t quite decided which costume I want to do next… Cogsworth? Mrs. Potts and Chip? There’s so many great ones, I can’t wait to share them all!