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Cinderella, a tale of a thousand and one versions

The story of Cinderella is one of the best-known and most popular fairy tales. Its immense success stems from its many origins in oral traditions throughout the world. It's the story of a poor young girl and Prince Charming, of social advancement, of recognition by a father figure, of adulthood... and of the glass slipper.

Walt Disney's Cinderella

Like many other tales of the same genre, such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, the story of Cinderella is best known to Western audiences thanks to the Disney animated film. Released in 1950, this film marked a real turning point in the Walt Disney Company's adventure.

During the 2nd World War, the Disney studios accumulated a large debt because the European market was inaccessible to them. The film "Cinderella" was the first feature film to be distributed internationally after the war, and the studios pulled out all the stops to avoid missing out.

The film was a huge critical and popular success. Even its famous song "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" won an Academy Award. But while it remains a fundamental part of our general culture, the success of this film based on Charles Perrault's story tends to make us forget all the other versions of the tale.

Cinderella by Perrault, Grimm and many others

In 1697, the Frenchman Charles Perrault wrote his own version of the story of Cinderella. An author and member of the Académie Française, he also wrote well-known versions of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard.

A 'rival' version in European culture and that of the Grimm brothers, written in the 19th century. Known as the "Aschenputtel", this story is much more connected to the tale's adult and moralistic origins, with terrible punishment for the wicked stepsisters and stepmother.

Perrault's version lends itself much more to the Dinsey universe and to all the future variations of the heroine with the glass slippers, or is it slippers of vair?

Golden shoes, glass and leather slippers

The images from the Disney version show Cinderella wearing her famous glass shoes, which are unusually elegant but impractical. Depending on the version, these shoes or slippers are made of a different material. Some think they were slippers made of vair, an expensive material made from grey squirrel fur. Others think they were gold slippers.

It's a fairy tale, a marvellous story, and the glass slippers fit right in, as Perrault wrote. The most important thing is that they are so rigid that only Cinderella's feet can fit into them.

Note that in some other versions, only a ring is used.

Modern versions and changes to the Cinderella codes

Always up to date, the story of Cinderella is constantly the subject of new film adaptations. The most recent is Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella (2015), in which Lily James plays Cinderella and Cate Blanchett plays the wicked stepmother. In 2008, it was the famous actress Selena Gomez who played the lead role in Another Cinderella Story. This film was the sequel to "A Cinderella Story", in which Cinderella took on the appearance of Hilary Duff.

The most recent version is Kay Cannon's 2021 musical Cinderella, starring Camila Cabello.

Depending on the period, the codes of Cinderella are modified slightly, especially in view of the emancipation of women and the feminist ideal. In older versions, when Cinderella left the famous ball, the Prince used a sticky substance on the stairs to hold her back against her will. In other versions, Cinderella loses her glass slipper on purpose. In the latest film starring Camila Ceball, Cinderella tries to assert herself through her work.

Disney Cinderella accessories

The illustrations from the Disney version are at the heart of our range of Cinderella accessories and licensed items. At ShopForGeek, you'll find a whole range of bags, puzzles and figurines featuring the heroine-turned-princess, the fairy godmother, the friendly mice and the pumpkin carriage.