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Ann's Beauty Dress

Version 1.2 - 2/14/06

Kong rages though New York desperately searching for his Beauty, discarding one blond after another in disappointment.  Suddenly out of the fog, Ann Darrow walked bravely down the street -- a vision of fantasy -- Kong's Beauty.  She bravery greeting her Beast, King Kong.

Ann's Finale costume is a fantasy dress.  Through all the stress the dress stays perfect.  She doesn't notice the cold temperatures, she just stays the perfect Beauty - that's movie magic costume design at it's finest.

Interesting comparison to the 1933 King Kong: Naomi Watt's 2005 Beauty outfit never is marred or damaged, magically staying pristine. Fay Wray's long evening gown , when in Kong's hand has a hem that looks very similar, though it too appears not to tatter. ( In the '33 version, scrunching accounts for the look.)  However, for Naomi, Kong always picks her up with the skirt perfectly positioned.  Interestingly, by the top of the Empire State Building, both have the same diagonal hem as Naomi's dress - so, the look is maintained.

Eight of these gowns were sewn for the finale scenes.  Terry Ryan's design inspiration was "the snow in New York".  They wanted elegance in movement without being too fussy.

So far we have very few good shots of the dress by itself.  The beauty shots are chose-up photos with Kong.  We have had to cap some low rez items to give a overall view of the dress.  Details can be found on the higher resolution close-up.  The dress was exhibited at FIDM's "Art of Motion Picture Design" in 2006.  Some notes come from then.

Dress Index

bulletDress Silhouette
bulletDress Description
bulletNeckline Study
bulletBack of the Dress
bulletShoulder Clip
bulletPlacement of the Glitter Bits
bulletMore detailed study of the costume seams

The Dress Silhouette

Ann walks out of the fog towards Kong.  This is the first glimpse we get of her Beauty costume.   The silhouette of the bias cut dress.

Dress Description

bulletWhite silk velvet dress,
bulletOuter layer is white silk - very minimal nap, looks like vintage velvet, not seen in the stores today.
bullet From 3 feet away, looks more like sueded charmeuse
bulletLined in silk, looked like a very mat china silk
bulletLining runs about 1" or less shorter for most of the skirt except for the front dip where it is a few inches shorter.
bulletDress decorated with bits of silver glitter confetti "confetti" hot-fix silver iron-on nail heads.
bulletSmall circular shinny bits that sparkle in the light.
bulletOnly show on shoulders, near the front seams at the drop waist
bulletBias cut sleeveless dress
bulletSee Pattern Study Page for the details on the two main cross seams
bulletAsymmetrical hem coming to a soft point in front
bulletCurved "V" neck in front
bulletTop fabric is gathered at the shoulder with rhinestone clips
bulletBack neck swoops low
bulletA slightly pointed cowl neck has been added to the back to bring up the neck a bit
bulletThe outer cowl piece is tacked down at the point and at one or two other places.
bulletVelvet collar is attached to the neck and falls back.  It is unlined.  Hem is 3/8" rolled and finished by hand.
bulletNote as show, the gown is only going to stay on with tape at the shoulders.
bulletTape loops have been confirmed by watching the movie.
bulletOpens on the left side
bulletFastens closed  with a long row of buttons - pearlescent shank buttons
bulletRun from a few inches under the arm all the way down to the lower hip seam.
bulletShoes: Silver leather t-strapped heals
bulletNo jewelry at this point, not even the rhinestone hair clip
bulletPeti-pant half slip / tap slip (i.e. looks like a very short half slip, but it more like shorts, for modesty)
bulletAssumed pantyhose, only have the documentation of their use in the 1st NY scene.

Neckline study

Shoulder fabric is gather on the shoulder strap.  The facing is probably flat and the gathers are tacked.  Notice lining shows just a bit inside the center of the neckline Shows the shapes of neckline perfectly with no stress or movement. Note the placement of the little bits of silver  "confetti", almost bead size.  They are scattered close to the inside "V", they fade as you get father down the "V" 
  The fabric is thin enough that you can see the seam around around the neckline.   This is a very low napped thin silk velvet.  

Back of the Dress

Notice even when running, the collar doesn't move much.  It's tacked on the bottom and at least one place higher up.    

Shoulder Clip

Rhinestone clip at the top her her shoulders    
Notice the center of the "flower".  One rhinestone surrounded by 5 others.  Note, that weird yellow circle is a small stray curl.  

Clasp looks like it's a two part.  The front forms a bit of flower base and the flower itself stands up.  The back rhinestone circle hooks around the flower head.

Placement of Glitter Bits

The decorations on the dress are not actually glitter or rhinestones.   They are a new-ish (newly perfected) method of ironing on the designs.  These are called iron-on nail heads.  They can be bought separately or on appliqués.  This dress looks like 6 or 7 appliqués were cut up to give a more random appearance and elegance to the dress.

Each appliqué is formed of many round silver nailheads, 1/4" approximately.  The shape is like a small sun with outward shooting rays.  The center circle is 1/2 to 3/4" in diameter (thumbnail size).  The center is empty.  Straight spokes of silver dots radiate outward.

3 appliqués are places on the lower skirt on the left side and 3 more at the hip above the bias line.  These have been cut up so that the ray crossing does not get too dense.  Extra bits go up towards the center front. More of the bits frame the top 2/3s of the neck.  These area probably cut off bits of rays.

Approximate placement of the silver iron-on nailhead appliqués.  Marks are not for a size reference... only to get the point across. Circles (the center of the glitter appliqués) are in the approximately right place.  

So far we have not been able to find the appliqué on line.  Hopefully it is out there, if we look hard enough.  Please let us know if you spot it.

The closest we've found are a set of 3 in clear rhinestones.  They'd work in a pinch. .  However, the spokes are curved and the rhinestones will be heavier than the silver metal nailheads.


This is probably a CG image of Ann, but you can see the T-Strap silver shoes.   

See the rest of the pics with the pattern study on the next page...

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This site was last updated 11/24/09

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