If you were in Sunway Pyramid between 10th and 26th March, you might’ve had a glimpse of a fairytale come to life. Malaysian fashion designer, Beatrice Looi of Beatrice Looi Couture, brought the magical world of Beauty And The Beast to the real world through her exclusive collection for Disney Malaysia. The collection comprises 14 looks, each beautifully handcrafted to make the inner kid in you jump for joy! Beatrice and team also did an exclusive fashion spread (see below) just for FEMALE. We caught up with the designer on the craftsmanship and the process that went behind the collection, and also her favourite Disney tunes!
F: Which piece was the most elaborate?
“Definitely my rendition of Belle’s iconic yellow ball gown! It took about 175 metres of fabric. The embroidered detailing was made by hand as well as the placing of the Swarovski crystals. I’d say 80 per cent of this dress was handmade. I mean, just look how dramatic it is!”
F: How many people did it take to come up with the full collection?
“I had a team of eight working for me on this project.”
F: How long did it take for you to complete it?
“I got the call from Disney Malaysia to create a Beauty And The Beast-inspired collection two weeks prior to the showcase. I didn’t waste time and started working on it right away. I usually take months to complete a couture collection. So, even though this was short notice, the team and I managed to pull through successfully in just two weeks!”
F: How is this project different from your previous ones?
“This collaboration was like a dream come true for me! I literally dropped everything and went straight to work. I grew up watching the film and I know so many others who did as well; getting the opportunity to be a part of your childhood is very nostalgic. The 1991 Beauty And The Beast was one of my favourite Disney movies of all time. I’ve watched and re-watched time and again, and I’m glad to get to be a part of it.
“As a designer, you always have a background story to your collection and your own vision of what it looks like and who would wear it. When creating this particular collection I brought my own interpretation of the classic tale to it. I wasn’t stressed out cos it was one of those rare opportunities that come once in awhile, and cos I’m a genuine fan!”
F: What was the process like to create the overall feel and look of each garment?
“When I created the collection, the movie wasn’t due for release yet in Malaysia. So they were all solely from my own imagination. I did a lot of research beforehand. I would have loved to experiment with the designs but of course, I couldn’t stray too far from the original. I tried to pay homage to it cos you have to go back to the roots at the end of the day.
“When creating the looks for Cogsworth and Lumière, I did a lot of research on the Internet. I looked at images of old century clocks and candlesticks (or as Lumière calls himself, candelabra) and discovered what colours and details were suited to incorporate into my design, which you can see has tons of gold, purple and maroon. Also, keeping in mind that it had to also fit 18th-century French fashion with all the baroque influences!”
F: How was the model casting like?
“There was a theme, and that was to show women empowerment. It was also in conjunction with the Women’s March back in March. As you know, the new Belle portrayed by Emma Watson, gives a breath of fresh air where she’s much stronger in character, level-headed and in touch with her feminist side. So moving with times, I went through the list of models and picked out girls who best portrays the modern-day heroine. We even dressed female models in the Gaston, Cogsworth and Lumière looks!”
F: Which of the Disney Princesses is your favourite?
“I don’t have one but if I were to choose a Disney character, Maleficent would be my pick. I’m more of a Goth girl than a princess type. Ha ha!”
F: Which Disney song do you know by heart?
“The Beauty And The Beast soundtracks are my favourite Disney tunes. I have them on my playlist since forever! A favourite of mine comes from the 2017 version, How Does A Moment Last Forever by Celine Dion, and from the original it has to be Belle, hands down! The tune is just so catchy and I always catch myself humming to it every now and then.”
Check out some of the stunning looks below!
Fashion Spread Credits:
Photography: Patrick Yap/Midas Touch PLT
Styling & Coordination: Beatrice Looi
Art Direction: Beatrice Looi & Patrick Yap
Makeup: Barrett Hirai & Zaf Zak/M.A.C
Hair: Yen Lim & Jane Choo/Wenawave Salon using Matrix
Models: Rafael Do Prado/GME Malaysia & Sofya Golubkova/Icon Model Management
Decor: Helena Chin/Blooms enriched by Kechara
Outfits: Beatrice Looi Couture for Disney Malaysia