Sep. 27, 2019

Frozen, has a lot going for her: great friends, amazing career prospects, and an epic, Wizard of Oz–esque journey. But there’s one thing she doesn’t have: pants.

Yelayny Placencia ’20, a Fashion Design student from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, decided to give her some. In the movie, Anna, true to her Scandinavian fairy tale roots (Frozen is based on a Hans Christian Andersen story), wears dresses with skirts that fall below the calf. Placencia crafted a day look featuring a form-fitting jumpsuit with flared legs in shiny four-ply silk, and paired it with a voluminous blouse. For the character’s evening look, Placencia created a scandalous, asymmetrical slit dress: Anna’s clubbing attire.

Anna’s aloof and powerful sister, Elsa, who sings the show’s anthem, “Let It Go,” also got a style update. Ashna Moogi ’21, a student from Bangalore, India, designed glamorous outfits that made the ice queen runway ready.

The project was part of a unique partnership between FIT and Disney on Broadway, to celebrate 25 years of hit musicals. Last summer, nearly 100 students submitted designs that reimagined iconic female Disney characters in two contemporary looks: day and evening. (At the time of the competition, few entrants had seen the stage productions, so they took their cues from the characters in the movies.) Ten students were selected, and the 20 garments can be seen in an exhibition in the Art and Design Gallery in FIT’s Pomerantz Center.

On September 6, Disney on Broadway and FIT brought Moogi and Placencia to see Frozen, the musical. For a WABC-TV story about the project, the students got to go backstage and meet the performers who played Anna and Elsa; then they saw the show, from orchestra seats.

Caissie Levy (Elsa) exclaimed over Moogi’s designs. “These are beautiful, and you’re so talented!” Moogi gushed back: “I’m so glad I finally got to meet you.” Placencia’s introduction to Patti Murin (Anna) had a fairy-tale quality. “I think they cast me ’cuz I have a little bit of Anna in me,” Murin said, and added, “I think you do too.” Placencia, blushing slightly, agreed.

The audience was full of little girls dressed as Elsa and Anna. Placencia had never seen a Broadway show before; Moogi had seen only one. The two whispered excitedly throughout. They loved the choreography and the careful orchestration of set changes. “Elsa’s costumes were perfect,” Moogi said. “Maybe I would have made the train on one gown a little longer for a more glamour,” she added with a laugh. Both noted that, in the stage production, the princesses wore pants. “That seems more practical,” Placencia added, philosophically. “I mean, Anna has to climb a mountain.”

Read more about the competition and see the other students’ designs here.         

Top Photo: Moogi and Plancencia.