Monday, 2 April 2012

Make Up in film: Battle of the Snow Whites

It seems incredibly weird to be writing a Makeup in Film post that doesn't relate to The Hunger Games films, but I can imagine that for a fair few of you it's probably a relief to be reading something else from me :) I've had this post lined up for quite some time, so I'm looking forward to finally sinking my teeth into this one!

So, here goes...

Snow White is probably one of the best-loved Princesses, thanks to the very successful 1939 Disney film, and thanks to that film, the character has become incredibly iconic figure with her immense beauty: her pale skin, jet black hair and her ruby red lips. The Disney depiction of Snow White was of course very close in keeping with the way the Brother's Grimm described her, in their original story:

"...who has skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony."

I know that a lot of film lovers and fans have been complaining about all of the comparisons between the two upcoming takes on the Snow White story in "Mirror, Mirror" and "Snow White and the Huntsman", but I always find it interesting to take a look at how different people take something and interpret it in completely different ways.

For a really good example of how a film (in this case The Hunger Games)  "might have been" if a different Director had taken it on, check out this awesome post in Entertainment Weekly.

It's interesting to see how alike both of the chosen actresses are (not only in their choice of outfits, perhaps!) both to each other but also to the original description of the Princess, with their dark hair and pale skin at least. 

Daughter of Phil Collins, Lily takes the role in Mirror, Mirror and brings a sweet, innocent and feminine nature to the part. Whilst rising starlet and Twilight leading lady Kristen Stewart will play the role in Snow White and the Huntsman, offering a tougher tomboyish persona, taking the role down a completely different path.

The overall look for Collins' Snow White is very in keeping with the original idea for the character, not only in her beauty, but also in the "feel" of the character, with her sweetness and innocence. But, I think that the most important aspect of this Snow White is how she appears to embody a more traditional idea of what is beauty, with the pale skin, the strong eye brows and make up that draws the majority of attention towards the lips.

Quite often, when scanning through the various images of Lily Collins, for this specific film, I couldn't help but find myself comparing her to another, classic actress who was very well-known for her immense beauty, and who remains to be a popular role-model even today, almost twenty years following her death:

I don't know if it was intentional, when casting for this film, or even when the left picture was snapped, but both actresses possess a very English-Rose kind of beauty, epitomised by the pale skin, but they also both boast big brown eyes, wide-smiles and those incredible face-framing eyebrows, that are so often avoided in modern society, as women opt for thinner brows.

Kristen Stewart's Snow White, on the other hand, could not be any more different. Played by a well-known tom boy, it's no surprise that the character (from what we've seen so far) appears to also possess tomboyish personality traits hidden behind her not-quite-so-traditional beauty. Indeed, this Snow White comes across as being a lot more rough around the edges compared to Lily Collins' innocent look and style.

As a result, Stewart's Snow White appears to be darker and tougher than Collins' delicate and perhaps more whimsical character. This creates what feels like a more modern Snow White, whilst Collins seems more traditional as to what you'd expect. 

For me, personally, having seen neither of the films, the way that both of the different Snow White's have been portrayed, in the way that they look and in various trailers and posters etc, I feel much more drawn to the tough-girl who doesn't need saving Snow White of Kristen Stewart, over the slightly more irritating Lily Collins. But that is probably more down to my preference for strong female protagonists who can fight their own battles, rather than needing to be saved. Of course, that isn't to say that Stewart's Snow White will be as tough as she looks, just as Collin's Snow White could kick ass for all I know, but in the ways that both characters have been portrayed so far, this is the visions of both that I've formed for myself.

Which Snow White look do you prefer?


  1. Personally, I prefer Lily Collins portrayal of Snow White! I just love the classic Snow White look. But I'm looking forward to seeing both!

  2. I just saw MIRROR, MIRROR, and I loved Lily Collins. The fact that she was made up to look so much like Audrey Hepburn was great fun. I also liked that she didn't end up needing so much rescuing. She actually rescues the prince at their first meeting. That was a fun reinvention. I didn't like the marionettes so much, and I missed the glass coffin, but true love's first kiss broke the spell, and the evil queen was transformed into a wretched hag, so I am content. I also enjoyed very much the closing musical number. They did the same thing in ELLA ENCHANTED. I understand it's quite common element in Indian films, and this closing number had an Indian feel to as did the palace domes. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing Kristen Stewart in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. I don't like her in everything, but I loved her as Joan Jett in THE RUNAWAYS. Maybe I'll like her in this film, too. She looks like Joan of Arc.


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