Amazon ‘Cinderella’ Included a Small Nod to Brandy ‘Cinderella’ in Its Extravagant Costumes

Amazon’s Cinderella might not be getting rave reviews, but even the late Aretha Franklin would agree it has “great gowns, beautiful gowns!” The Camila Cabello movie debuted on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 3. And unsurprisingly, comparing it to the Brandy Cinderella has been the talk of the town on social media. But what viewers might not have realized is Amazon connected its take on the classic fairytale to the Brandy Cinderella through its costumes.

Camila Cabello and Billy Porter in Amazon's 'Cinderella.' Cabello's Cinderella wears a light pink ballgown magically created by Porter's Fab G (aka the Fairy Godmother). The Amazon 'Cinderella' costumes were made by Ellen Mirojnick, who also designed the costumes for Disney's 1997 'Cinderella' starring Brandy.
Camila Cabello and Billy Porter in Amazon’s ‘Cinderella’ | Kerry Brown/Amazon Content Services LLC

Amazon’s ‘Cinderella’ costumes are a highlight of the film

Amazon’s Cinderella debuted over Labor Day weekend. The Cinderella soundtrack features original songs from Cabello and Idina Menzel, as well as covers of classics like Madonna’s “Material Girl,” Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud.” But the soundtrack has been slammed by critics, saying the use of the songs demonstrate a lack of understanding of irony and the songs’ meanings.

The ending also featured an unexpected twist. Rather than Cabello’s Ella becoming a princess at the end, she and Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) go off to travel the world and build her dress business. Robert’s sister, Gwen (Tallulah Greive), becomes the heir to the throne instead. Other iconic Cinderella characters are given new twists as well. Menzel’s “evil” step-mother is humanized with a new backstory. And Billy Porter plays Fab G, the fairy godmother, who flies in in a fabulous monarch butterfly-inspired gown when they meet Ella.

Amazon’s Cinderella aimed to create a new, more feminist version of the fairytale, which works in theory. But in practice, it’s being called a vapid girlboss story. Despite its poor reviews, Deadline reports it was watched in 1.1 million households. And thankfully, the movie all about a woman dreaming of designing dresses has beautiful dresses.

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Ellen Mirojnick designed the costumes for the Brandy and Amazon ‘Cinderella’ movies

Cinderella costume designer Ellen Mirojnick knows a thing or two about designing gowns for princesses. Mirojnick is the connection between the Amazon and Brandy Cinderellas—she designed the costumes for both movies. She talked about her experiences working on both of the films in an interview with Who What Wear. Mirojnick said:

“I love Cinderella stories because they are magical. I really do believe in magic and setting that magic flame in all of us. It’s just my life’s mission. That being said, it’s two different Cinderellas. The 1997 Cinderella was the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella. It was the first of its kind in its diversity, and it was a huge pleasure. It was a Disney piece, Cinderella must be blue, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein score is… How does it get better? It doesn’t—until this Cinderella.”

While Mirojnick’s made Cinderella gowns before, creating Cabello’s posed a new challenge for the designer. She said:

“When it came to the Cinderella dress, the pressure to design that dress was probably greater than any single pressure that I could have had throughout that film. It’s different than the original Cinderella story. Our dress needed to serve many different moments. She had to sneak into some places. She had to be able to move around in it, get up, crumple it, and so on. There was a moment where the big skirt had to come off so they can dance. There were all these beats that had to go into the thinking of the practicality of the dress and that had to come from flowers and nature.”

Brandy Norwood in a blue ballgown and tiara as Cinderella in 'Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella' on ABC, 1997. Brandy's Cinderella dress was designed by the same costume designer who created the costumes for Amazon's 'Cinderella' starring Camila Cabello.
Brandy as Cinderella in ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ (1997) | Disney

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Brandy’s ‘Cinderella’ dress was the first costume designed for the film

Creating Cinderella’s dress was Mirojnick’s first task when working on Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in 1997. She told Shondaland in a 2017 interview:

“We did the sketch for that blue dress first. I knew that I wanted a peplum. I knew I wanted the shape of the shoulder and the bodice to be particular, and I knew I wanted the shape of the big, beautiful skirt. Those were the musts when I started draping it. I remember when she came in and tried it on for the first time, and it was heaven before me. I remember her swirling around, like you’d imagine Cinderella would. It was just a magic moment.”

Executive producer Debra Martin Chase said she was brought to tears by the gown. Now, 24 years later, Mirojnick has created another collection of memorable Cinderella costumes.