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Early Victorian Elsa: 'Let It Go' Ice Costume by suburbanbeatnik Early Victorian Elsa: 'Let It Go' Ice Costume by suburbanbeatnik
Here's Elsa again, from Disney blockbuster Frozen! A number of people requested my take on Elsa's "Let it Go" ice costume, the one she creates during her big number, and even though it took me a while to do it, here it is.

This one was pretty tricky. So, my original pic locates Elsa in the late 1830s. So, what on earth could she wear that would suit her more liberated fantasy ice queen persona, one that would make sense with her personality, suit the time period, AND work with the general design established in the movie?

I thought and thought about it, and I decided a theatrical Victorian take on historical Nordic costume would work. In the 1830s-1840s, in Scandinavia, romanticism and nationalism converged to create an intense interest in ancient Norse myth and legend (the brothers Grimm emerged earlier from a similar milieu a few decades before); Swedish artist Nils Blommer was one of the more influential artists to emerge from the region. His paintings of Idunn and Freya are especially famous, and I based Elsa's costume on them. What's more empowering than a goddess?  Also, it distances her from the Christian culture of the city she grew up in, and allows her to embrace and express her 'witch-like' abilities. She's not wearing a corset, but not all Victorian actresses wore corsets when wearing ancient costumes (like Julia Marlowe from this 1887 performance of Ingomar).  Historical fantasies of ancient times, whether they were Greek, Roman, Celtic or Nordic, were extremely common during the 19th century, and I think in large part because they provided such a welcome contrast to the mannered constraint of the period.

The Nordic knotwork on her cloak is based on the Urnes style of the 11th and 12th centuries. The peculiar transparent overgown of the movie has been replaced by a cloak of silk gauze, and her tunic is sleeveless, since the cold doesn't bother her anyway. I am pretty sure she is not wearing heels, since that would not really go with the whole Norse goddess look. Sing it, Elsa!
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:iconnelyasun:
Nelyasun Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
cool
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconnelyasun:
Nelyasun Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
:)
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Pre-Raphaelite?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
More like a proto Pre-Raphaelite...
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner May 4, 2016  Student General Artist
Well, it definitely looks that way.
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:iconyanagi-no-yume:
Yanagi-no-Yume Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
You really put in a lot of research with those outfits :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
I try. :) 
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:iconcallisto-chan:
callisto-chan Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a fantastic and unique take on the ice dress! I would've never thought of it (considering how closely the ice dress matched the line/form of her coronation gown), but this makes a lot of sense for the culture and time period, yet still gives off that sense of 'freedom' that the gown represents. I also learned a lot about classical romanticism too. Great work, I love this unique take on it! :D
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you. Thanks also for the lovely and thoughtful comment!
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The dress is really nicely designed.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! 
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:iconelphieofkiamoko:
elphieofkiamoko Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is gorgeous, and I love the way you researched it owo
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconmyrialuna:
Myrialuna Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Student General Artist
It's beautiful !!! amazing !
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconpotoperson:
potoperson Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
This costume adaptation is superb! Fantastic adjustment. The expression and pose too are perfect, both free and strong. The coloring too... I could rave for a while. Seriously, brilliant job :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! 
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:iconmairelyn:
Mairelyn Featured By Owner May 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is a spectacular design and I adore the WHY it's this way. 

someone definitely cosplay it at some point
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I think that might actually at some point! :)
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:iconauroramaryte:
AuroraMaryte Featured By Owner May 20, 2014   Artisan Crafter
I love this soooo much.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!! I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you-- I've been so busy with my freelance work and my day job. But I *will* get back to you guys soon about the cosplay project, I promise! :)

Feel free to poke me during long periods of radio silence. I have a lot on my plate at the mo' and sometimes I need reminders. :P
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:icondisneygirl89:
Disneygirl89 Featured By Owner May 8, 2014
Love it!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconkissmeimdanish:
KissMeImDanish Featured By Owner May 7, 2014
Can I just tell you that I love you so much for incorporating Scandinavian romanticism's obsession with Norse mythology in this? I was really surprised that Disney did not work in some references to Norse mythology since it's set in fantasy 'We're in Scandinavia so naturally everything is covered with snow'!Norway. 
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you. I know!! I thought that was odd too. It seemed a natural for Elsa too.:shrug:
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:iconrainygravie:
RainyGravie Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!! Absolutely AMAZING!!!! wow!!!   Elsa looks wonderful!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconrainygravie:
RainyGravie Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome
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:iconhcshannon:
HCShannon Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This looks like it came from a book!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! That's probably because I've done a lot of book illustration. :)
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:iconcherry-lane:
Cherry-Lane Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The dress doesn't look Victorian to me
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
The logic behind the outfit is explained in the caption. :)
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:iconlui-ysia:
lui-ysia Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"a theatrical Victorian take on historical Nordic costume" so not something people would wear in everyday life, but something people would design around that period (at least I think so? correct me if I'm wrong :P)
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:iconcherry-lane:
Cherry-Lane Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It looks more toga to me
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:iconlui-ysia:
lui-ysia Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the design is pretty close to the one in the paintings linked in the description, esp. the idunn one
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:iconshoomlah:
shoomlah Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yes yes a thousand times yes
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
!!!! :hug:
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome idea, I love your reasoning behind your costuming. ^_^
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconharetrinity:
HareTrinity Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome! :D I love the clear contrast with your pre-Let-It-Go costume! There's first's repeated bunching up and tying in (e.g. sleeves, chest, sash, crown, hair) really is "let go" of, here, and the lack of sleeves is an obvious choice that works really well!

Going for a theatrical Nordic goddess is quite a twist, but it really works: It goes well with embracing her powers, and maybe letting out her fun side.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! That's exactly what I was thinking. I'm glad you noticed it too. :)
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:iconabbeygrimm:
AbbeyGrimm Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
This looks amazing :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconaniek90:
aniek90 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Wow, this looks amazing! It suits her very well and I just love that knotwork. Once again, great job! :D
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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April 28, 2014
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