Do you remember the first time you were introduced to a Disney princess? Do you remember how much you sang along as they frolicked away on your screen, full of color and wonder and the right amount of magic that has kept the child in you mesmerised up till today? Ah, what I would give to be that young and free again.
Well, I may be older (much older…) but I haven’t met a Disney princess I haven’t fallen in love with. And as I have always loved fashion illustration, I thought I would be awesome to be inspired by the princesses in creating traditional Nigerian bridal looks.
As Nigerian as I am, I enjoy going for wedding parties mainly cos of the food but also the fashion. It is always a colorful event as one of the first things an engaged couple do while prepping for their wedding is pick their colors. And with how tradition always plays a huge part in every Nigerian wedding ( I mean every. Even destination weddings have the Nigerian touch to it), many brides get to dress up in a both traditional and a European style white wedding dress. So, this is a mash-up of my love of the traditional brides and the Disney princesses.
Let’s start with Ariel. As she is not the first princess I was introduced to, her story got the romantic in me to shine through. I always believed that “Kiss the Girl” would be the sound track to my very first kiss…that didn’t happen. It was the sound of a police truck creeping slowly behind me but I digress. Also, Ariel was the beginning of my theme as her colors took me back to how many couples pick their colors (from something they always loved or a combo of their favorite colors before parents “encourage” them to pick other colors). Her Gele( the headgear she is wearing) is the color of her hair and I see this being made with lots of shiny sequins.
Jasmine was kick ass. She was ready for everything and starred adventure down in its eyes. Not many would climb on a flying carpet with a guy they barely know. Well, she happens to be the only one I dressed up in a jump suit. She is ready to throw it down on the dance floor. A lovely mixed of stretchy chiffon bedazzled all over to make up the suit and a detachable chiffon skirt.
Belle seems like a quiet bride that but with a dash of mischief in her eyes. So her dress is made from a rose patterned heavy lace with a silky cowl neckline. It gives full coverage but allows her naughty side to peek through in a stylish way.
Merida is all drama with a full velvet skirt, a cape and golden Northern Nigerian symbols embroidered into the fabric. She can hide weapons in there as well.
Mulan is the princess that saved her prince and his kingdom. I went for a traditional Efik bridal look cos of the similarities with how the hair is adorned with combs and decorated into beautiful towers. Beads drape over her shoulders and she is usually without the tulle. That is my extra touch there.
Pocahontas was my first heartbreak as she watched John Smith sail away from the cliff. I like how tassels can give you the right amount drama as you sashay away in the crowd that came just to look at you.
Snow White as the oldest princess is usually seen as the sweetest of them all. Not here. I gave an edgy neckline and yes, I confess I wanted to give her a bit of her stepmother’s vibe…just a tiny bit.
Tiana’s story was fun for me as New Orleans is somewhere I would love to visit someday. But before then, this bridal look would be made in Aso-oke, a traditional Yoruba fabric that has makes every bride look regal. With carefully selected add ons like the lily, she is the flower the groom’s family came to behold.
Aurora is my first Disney princess but Maleficent was my first crush and would always be my best villain. So I kinda mixed up the inspiration here: the colors of Aurora before she turned 16 and the vibe of Maleficent. The golden brooch is a nod to Maleficent but the cape is Aurora’s as she danced away with the woodland creatures.
Rapunzel came to slay with the biggest gele ever. I mean, that shiny crown should take all the attention. And her purple Adire is just glorious.
And that’s it for my Disney princess inspired illustrations…Ok, my plan was to end it here as I found myself in the middle of a project. But…
Cinderella made me pick up my pen again. I saw a Nigerian bride with this hair style and knew I had to give Cinderella this look. With feather covered shoulders and detachable tulle skirt, she is ready to flaunt away.
Moana, the carrier of the heart of Te Fiti, gives me chills with her look. A Simple scarf to adorn her head, no need for plenty drama but enough to let everyone know she is the center of attention. I foresee a combo of lace and aso-oke with a touch of chiffon for this look.
And lastly, the Frozen sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa is dripping in bling, lace bedazzled to the point of blinding everyone while Anna is playful in her iridescent purple lace as she lets her dress capture the light while she dances away in the center floor.
Now, I am done. These are my Disney princess inspired looks for traditional Nigerian bridal look. This was a fun project as I have been illustrating a lot more lately and I must say that I am more confident with my drawing skills especially digitally now. I have been using the AutoDesk Sketchbook on my tab and it has worked efficiently for me chiefly for my limited budget.
So, which one is your favorite look? Don’t keep us guessing.
Have fun with these ladies.