Billy Porter’s ‘Cinderella’ Dress Inspired by Monarch Butterfly: Costume Designer

  • Ellen Mirojnick, costume designer for “Cinderella,” said Porter’s costume is based on a butterfly.
  • Porter stars in the modern musical retelling of the fairytale as the fairy godmother or Fab G.
  • Mirojnick told Insider that she coincidentally found the right fabric for the costume immediately.

“Cinderella” costume designer Ellen Mirojnick told Insider that Billy Porter’s dazzling outfit in the movie is inspired by the colors of a monarch butterfly.

Porter stars in the movie as the fairy godmother of Cinderella, played by Camila Cabello. In this modern retelling, the fairy godmother is genderless and goes by the name Fab G.

Mirojnick said she had her own “Fab G” on her shoulder when creating the design for the stand-out costume because she found the exact material she needed — the orange and gold double-faced silk we see in the final movie — the first time she ventured to look. And the store had the exact amount of the decadent fabric as well and “the color match was perfect,” Mirojnick added.

After showing Porter six designs for Fab G, the two decided together to combine multiple elements to showcase a “masculine” and “feminine” side to the costume. This included the crystal necklace, made from Preciosa and Swarovski crystals, the orange-gold coat, and the “magnificent” butterfly Jimmy Choo boots that actually look like a monarch butterfly.

Billy Porter next to a monarch butterfly

Billy Porter next to a picture of a monarch butterfly.

Amazon Studios / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Mirojnick added that the orate necklace Porter dons was inspired by a similar one Porter wore for the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in 2019.

“And when he did his first fitting, I’ll never forget it. It was breathtaking,” the costume designer recalled. “Without variation from what you saw, it was one of those costumes as if my Fab G was sitting on my shoulders and guiding me to the end result.”

Mirojnick admitted that not every “Cinderalla” costume she created came together so seamlessly despite having created costumes for the 1997 Rodgers & Hammerstein’s version, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston.

The designer admitted it was “difficult” to come up with the costumes used and made by the titular character because in an attempt to modernize the movie, Kay Cannon, the screenwriter and director, made Cinderella an aspiring fashion designer, who meets Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) while trying to sell her designs at the town market.

“It was terrifying,” the 72-year-old costume designer said. “It was a very difficult challenge because … [Cinderella] wanted to become the best in the world.”

“It really had to do with her passion and her dreams,” Mirojnick added, “and for me, it was a challenge because what would she design that would set her apart from the world that we built?”

Billy Porter and Kay Cannon in Cinderella

Billy Porter and Kay Cannon on the set of “Cinderella.”

Amazon Studios

“It needed to be nontraditional, be classic and at the same time feminine and not similar at all to any of the other women in our village and in our show,” she continued.

For Cinderella’s ball gown worn at the movie’s apex when she dances with the prince, Mirojnick differed from previous iterations and chose a blush, pink color rather than the iconic blue used in Disney. However, she was disappointed to find out that the gown looked more white onscreen.

“I saw it last night on a screen and it looked white to me and it is not white at all,” Mirojnick clarified. “And in the posters, it looks lavender and it’s not lavender. To be honest with you, it upset me quite a lot because it was never meant to be white.”

Mirojnick added that the gown was inspired by “nature” to represent the dream design that Cinderella could not figure out while trying to create designs to take her career to the next level.

“And so I felt that … incorporating nature, and the swirls, and the romance of circular lines, and cascading crystals, and just flowers, and the rhythm of the wind, would just create this very, very, very special dress,” she added. 

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