Alice in Wonderland dress

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Alice as she appears in John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

One of the most iconic figures to emerge from 19th century children's literature, and one who is instantly recognized by her attire, is Alice in Wonderland.[1] Although many artists have depicted Alice in many different ways, the original illustrations by John Tenniel have become iconic through their subsequent repetition (with generally minimal alterations) in most published editions and film adaptations.

Tenniel's Alice[edit]

Tenniel's black-and-white illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland depict Alice wearing a knee-length puffed sleeve dress with a pinafore worn over the top and ankle-strap shoes.[2] Tenniel added additional elements to the design for Through the Looking Glass, including striped stockings and a headband.[3] (Headbands of this type became so linked to Alice that they are sometimes called "Alice bands".[4])

The color of Alice's dress[edit]

An Alice in Wonderland costume based on the design from the 1972 film Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This is an example of the most well-known depiction of Alice's dress.

The first colorized versions of Tenniel's images were created for The Nursery "Alice". Twenty of Tenniel's original illustrations from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were re-drawn (with alterations to Alice's dress to bring it in line with current fashion trends) and colored under his supervision. In this edition, Alice's dress was yellow.[5]

Subsequent colorized versions of Tenniel's illustrations created for editions of the Alice books after Charles Dodgson's death and without the involvement of Tenniel have dressed Alice in different colors, including red, orange, and chartreuse.[6] One of the earliest, Macmillan's 1903 "Little Folks" edition, had her in a blue dress.[7] Macmillan's deluxe 1911 edition, which featured color plates based on Tenniel's illustrations painted by artist Harry Theaker, again had Alice in a blue dress.[6]

Alice in other media[edit]

Alice, in a 1948 Ladies' Home Journal advertisement

The blue dress subsequently became the most common and well-known version of Alice's dress, showing up often in print and filmed adaptations that take their inspiration from Tenniel's original illustrations (including Paramount's 1933 movie, Disney's 1951 movie, and the 1972 movie). Although some adaptations have chosen different color schemes (for example, orange in the 1985 Irwin Allen production and yellow in the BBC's 1972[8] and 1986[9] adaptations as well as the 1999 Hallmark movie), the blue version has remained the most iconic version.