Cinderella costume designer talks Duchess Kate and Cate Blanchett

Sandy Powell OBE is the creative brain behind the dazzling costumes of Disney's upcoming adaptation of Cinderella starring Lily James and Cate Blanchett, but the 54-year-old reveals there is one real life royal whose style she admires.

"I wouldn't change the Duchess of Cambridge, she has a style that suits her," she told HELLO! Fashion exclusively. "I like how she dresses, it's very simple and flattering and she doesn't overcomplicate anything."


Sandy Powell's sketches of the costumes including Cinderella's ball gown

Sandy designed everything from Cinderella's iconic ball gown to the evil stepmother's wickedly stylish ensembles, but the designer revealed that she turned to past eras for inspiration. "I thought about 1940s actresses like Joan Crawford who play villainesses in period films set in the 18th century, but still with that 1940s look," she said. "I thought that was the way to go for the evil stepmother, to be a strong, tough woman with the air of a great Hollywood villain."

The designer also revealed that Cate Blanchett, who stars as the evil stepmother, was more than happy to go along with Sandy's vision. "I asked her how she felt about that interpretation, and she was totally up for it," she admitted.

However, there was one outfit which Sandy admitted was a particularly epic task. "Cinderella's ball gown is a character in its own," she revealed. "The most important thing she does in that dress is dance and later run down the stairs!"

Sandy Powell at a Cinderella-themed afternoon tea during London Fashion Week

"I looked at the animated film but I don't remember seeing it when I was a kid," she continued. "I wasn't one of those kids brought up on fairytales, but of course I looked at it for inspiration. Then I looked at every other version of Cinderella because I wanted to see what had been done before to make sure I didn't just do the same thing again."

Sandy also revealed that Lily James, who stars as Cinderella, faced a major challenge when rehearsing in the dress. "It was a feat of engineering," she laughed. "For something so big we had to make sure there was nothing she could tread on."

"There were eight identical versions of the dress made, each slightly differing," she admitted. "The dance scene one was a couple of inches shorter, but her real problem was the Prince trying not to tread on the gown! There were months and months of dance rehearsals I had to go to to see what I needed to do."

Cinderella is released in cinemas nationwide on March 27.