As I've said before elsewhere, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not at all bothered by the animated designs of the characters in Disney and Dreamworks films. They weren't documentaries after all so in most cases they didn't need to be accurate, and in animation in particular, it is more important to convey character and style in the designs. I am not trying to "fix" anything because I don't think there is anything to fix! That being said, it can still be fun to learn how your favorite characters might have looked if they had existed in real life.
For my series, I am trying to be as accurate as I possibly can. I'm taking the country of origin, the social class, the culture, and the specific decade into mind (instead of just a general sweep of multiple decades), and also adapting the colors and styles to fit what was available and worn everyday. I will try to keep the characters recognizable where I can, but I want to make my pictures realistic and so some elements of the original designs might be altered in the process.
You knew it had to happen some time, and here it is - my Historically Accurate Frozen miniseries! Four installments will feature my take on the movie's four main characters, and goodness knows the kids from Frozen need some serious historical help!
Last but certainly not least in the series is Princess Anna. Since I drew Elsa in her coronation wear and Anna's wouldn't be that different, I decided to draw her bunad, which would also be a fun way to work in Norway's folk costumes into the series.
In doing Anna’s historical outfit, I wanted to mimic the costume in the movie with pieces that actually existed in Norway at the time. Modern bunads are known for having lots of regional differences, with each region having their own design, and fortunately my main 19th century reference, Johannes Flintoe, worked in areas like Sogn og Fjordane and Hordaland, the same areas that influenced Disney’s design of Arendelle in the movie – talk about lucky! This way I could be both period-accurate and reasonably regionally-accurate as well, at least as much as you can be for a fictional location.
Most Norwegian bunads start with a white blouse of some kind, usually with a high collar. However, in Flintoe’s drawings of the women from Norway’s Sogn region, he depicts them wearing a high-collared woolen jacket over their blouse (which is also reflected in modern bunad from that region). To bring in some Hordaland influence I drew Anna’s bodice in the Hordaland shape. From my 19th century references, I found hardly any black bodices (those look to be more Swedish), most of the Norwegian bodices were colored, however I added a black center panel with embroidery and trim similar to the one in the movie, and the heart clasp on the belt which seems to be a more traditional placement. The little neck scarf shows up in a lot of 19th century paintings, so I decided to give Anna one. I thought it would also do double duty to keep her neck warmer.
I didn’t find very many skirts with embroidered hems like Anna’s – I only found one instance, worn by some old Telemark women in church in the 1860s, which makes me think it was for more formal occasions, despite its prevalence in modern outfits. Workaday bunads looked as though they commonly had some kind of braid or trim appliqued at the bottom, they were also usually striped. I found this example which inspired Anna’s skirt, I was glad to find something blue! Although most of the women wore aprons in the pics I found, I left it off of Anna because she’s not really *working*, and probably wouldn’t care about keeping her clothes clean the way real women would. I just don’t think that specific piece would make sense in this context, anyway.
Something that confused me is that I did not see one single example of a woman (or anyone, for that matter) wearing a cloak, even though they are sometimes a part of modern bunads. It appears as though the Norwegians, at least in the southern regions, mostly used layers to keep warm instead. I did see some examples of shawls, so I reworked Anna’s cloak into a shawl with some period embroidery similar to the scalloped design on her cape. The little cap she wears shows up in some period artwork among unmarried girls, so I decided to give her a version of that to match.
I also did not see any examples of women wearing boots. That makes a bit more sense – 19th century boots would have been highly impractical for snowy conditions, as they were heavy and could easily hurt your feet – they were only worn for riding. I think Disney may have taken inspiration for Anna’s boots from the embroidered stockings you see in areas like Telemark, but since those seem to be specific for that region, I decided to go a bit more generic and give Anna “clocked” stockings which were widely worn in this period.
It looks like most women Anna’s age wore their hair in a low bun – however, 18-year-olds were also most likely married, which could have made a difference. Younger girls definitely wore braids, as you can see in these three pictures. I figured since Anna probably had her hair styled by maids her whole life, maybe she could only do plaits on her own hair. It would definitely be longer than her shoulder-length braids in the movie, though, as during the 1830s a self-respecting girl would never cut her hair!
I hope you enjoyed the Frozen miniseries! I am going to take a small hiatus from the Historically Accurate series right now to work on some other projects that have been needing my attention for a while, but if you are interested in seeing what other characters I plan on drawing check out the list in my profile!
First of all, bunads did NOT exist back in the 1800's. It was an invention of the 1920's, when Norwegians wanted to rid them selves of all Danish influence and romanticized their own culture. What people really wore is what we now call a folk costume, or folk clothing. It is the Bunad that has rules for how it is supposed to be made and what region it "belongs" to. This is all made up, and has no base in history. Of course there were some styles that were more popular in certain time periods and regions, but there were as many different pieces of folk clothing as there were people wearing them.
If Norway had had their own royal family in the 1800's, they would certainly never have worn these kinds of clothes. They were for farmers and the common man. However, I do interpret the movie as if folk wear also was a part of the royal wardrobe. If this was the though Disney had, there is no need to look at everyday workers clothes. Of course royalty would have worn the most exquisite to symbolize their wealth and inspire admiration from the public. You can look straight at the Sunday best costume, or maybe at what a traditional bride would wear. No need to look at regional fashions either. The royal family would have had Kongsgårder all over the country. Norwegians were very fond of very expensive fabrics, trims and patterns, so there would most likely be bodices made of silk lampasso, calimanco skirts and silk ribbons from France, with every inch of the chest covered in silver brooches, clasps and chains. Embroidery was something poorer people used to decorate fabrics when they couldn't afford silk lampasso or calimanco. Trims could certainly have been bobbin lace made from real gold, as Norway was one of the few European countries that didn't forbid gold lace. When you see Norwegian folk costumes turn much darker and simpler in the later 1800's, it is because the priests complained constantly about how flashy even the simplest farmer was dressed. The shirt, which is turquoise in the movie is cringe worthy. Looks like a mandarin-inspired blouse or something. Coloured blouses started to appear in the beginning of the 1900's. In this time-period however, Anna would have had rich embroideries very fine linen shirts, probably several of them, and with huge sleeves, because they didn't need to save on the fabric.
Women wore boots, called the button boot, and it was worn all over Europe.
Anna, being a royal princess would have had much longer hair, most likely with an traditional hairdo and not braids like a milksmaid. If nothing else, she would have used a hårvippe, but most likely headlinen or hat, decorated with ribbons or and silver.
As you probably understand, nothing interests me more than Norwegian folk costumes, so I'd thought I'd share my knowledge.
Anyway, it looks good.
However, here are some examples of coloured shirts:
I have no idea what colour this one is, but I assume it's probably red: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia…
White shirts were obviously more common, and still are, but there are illustrations of coloured shirts as well, especially brown and burgundy, presumably because it doesn't get dirty-looking as quickly as white shirts, so it would be more practical.
Either way, I think it was a good idea to give her a jacket instead of just a shirt, since bunadshirts don't exactly protect you much from the cold.