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June 2, 2023

The Little Mermaid: We Have Miyazaki's Anime To Thank For Ariel's Design

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As is the case for most of Disney’s live-action remakes, the designs of the originals are so iconic that the studio has to find a way to modernize them without leaving behind what made them so memorable in the first place.

In order to nail the look of the original, “The Little Mermaid” costume designer Colleen Atwood didn’t want to change too much, but some things needed to be altered to bring the story to modern audiences. One major difference? No shell bra for Ariel (Halle Bailey) or any of the mermaids. When asked about it during an interview with Harpers Bazaar, Atwood responded, “We walked away from that one,” elaborating on the difficulties that come with bringing that costume design to live-action. “I just think we wanted to have a more fishlike quality to the girls. Having them all plonk seashells on their breasts seemed like a weird way to go. And when you start putting shells on real bodies, it’s hard to make them look good, believe me.”

The change to Ariel’s costume is just one of many ways “The Little Mermaid” separates itself from the original. While some people may disagree with Disney’s changes, the original Ariel totally supports them, so that should be good enough for fans.

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