DUBAI: This week in Los Angeles, the world got a preview of Disney’s latest live-action remake, an action-packed retelling of “Mulan” directed by Niki Caro. The global premiere served as an official Hollywood debut for the film’s lead star, Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, who stunned in an Elie Saab couture gown.
The 32-year-old actress and her stylist Samantha McMillan chose a gold Elie Saab gown for the premiere from the Lebanese designer’s Fall 2019 couture collection replete with a rising phoenix motif rendered in gold embroidery and sequins.
Liu explained the significance of the phoenix print to USA Today, saying: “They are my inspiration for the movie. It’s a symbol of Mulan’s spirit… it’s something meaningful.”
But the extravagant ballgown wasn’t exactly easy to move around in. “It’s a very big dress. It’s very hard to walk in it,” she added. Indeed, the dress was so overwhelming, it required a few aides to get the star photo ready on the red carpet.
The magical gown featured a built-in corset, gold brocade and an expansive train. Heavy on the sequins and sparkle, the strapless number made for a fashion moment worthy of a Disney princess.
Once inside the ceremony, Yifei switched into another gilded number from yet another Lebanese couturier. The actress opted for a plunging Zuhair Murad gown covered with beaded embellishments and adorned with a sheer cape.
Yifei plays the titular character in the upcoming film, which is a live-action remake of the beloved Disney cartoon from 1998. Yifei was chosen out of a pool of 1,000 other actresses for the lead role after a year-long casting process. While she is a well-known actress in China, “Mulan” is Yifei’s first major role in a US-based film.
The actress was joined at the premiere by many of her “Mulan” castmates, including actors Tzi Ma and Donnie Yen, and other celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Chrissy Metz, Jaimie Alexander and Lana Condor, among others. Actress Ming-Na Wen, who originally voiced Mulan in the 1998 film, also attended the premiere.