The release of Kenneth Branagh and Disney’s Cinderella was an exciting time for us, as Stephen created the stunning bespoke ring that Cate Blanchett’s fabulous wicked stepmother character wears. The production looks as lush as it could possible be, a real feast for the eyes and the costumes by the very talented Sandy Powell look superb. The story of Cinderella is a very old one. There are versions of it that date back to 17th century Italy, which were part of a collection of oral folk tales put down on paper, but the most well known version is probably from the Brothers Grimm first written in 1812. It’s the sweetened up version of this that we are all familiar with.
The original Grimms’ version of Cinderella is a strange story. Two things which always struck me about it were, why did the father not protect his child? Did he not notice that she had gone from being a beloved daughter living by his side and being treated like a princess, to suddenly becoming the house drudge? We never see him in all the versions of the story being even remotely bothered by the downfall of his daughter. Also, why was the Prince so incredibly stupid that even though he spent a whole evening dancing with Cinderella, as soon as she had changed her clothes he suddenly couldn’t recognise her? Not sure I’d want to marry someone so shallow that unless his beloved is dressed in couture items she is totally invisible? What happens when she comes out of the shower for instance? All kinds of problems will arise, sorry who said that? Where’s my wife I can’t see her! The Brothers Grimm have written some very weak male characters into this particular story which would be interesting to explore.
Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1867
The other characteristic thing about Grimms’ Cinderella is the underlying darkness. In the original story, when the wicked stepsisters try to make the glass slipper fit, one of them cuts off her toes (on the recommendation of her mother) and the other cuts off her heals. The trick is spotted by the Prince (who still, at this stage cannot tell the difference between an ugly sister and a pint of milk) because he sees a trail of blood. Oh well done Prince! (Again not by facial recognition! What a thicko!). Once this has been spotted and both ugly sisters have been ousted, Cinderella puts on the glass slipper ‘or special slipper’ and it fits. So she gets dressed up in all her finery and jewels and suddenly the Prince can see her, she is no longer invisible. They marry… lalalala… and as the wicked stepsisters trip up the aisle behind Cinderella, they each have one eye plucked out by a friendly white dove known to Cinderella. Then on the way back out of the church after the wedding, the doves pluck out the sisters other eyes. Dark, very dark… In all fairness, they did ask for it though…
Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1867
I would like to see a really dark version of this story one day, without the aid of CGI, where Cinderella is dressed up by her Fairy Godmother but she has to use whatever is to hand – rags, old tins, old paper etc… it could look wonderful, and with lots of blood! And… maybe a slightly more intelligent Prince… well it’s only a suggestion.
But back to the most important point of this whole tale (or blog)… Cate Blanchett’s Lady Tremaine, wicked stepmother character looks utterly compelling and entertaining. Fabulous Cate (we’re on first name terms now of course) is always very charismatic and watchable, and she is wearing a bespoke ring made by us, so it’s worth seeing just for that!
Read about the making of our stunning bespoke rose gold, ruby and Akoya pearl Cinderella ring here. And take a look at our beautiful Posey collection, which was inspired by the Cinderella design here.