Stella McCartney has already collaborated with one of the greatest brands and bands of a lifetime – The Beatles – and now her new partnership sees the fashion designer create a new look for the iconic Minnie Mouse.
No stranger to creating with some of the biggest icons of a generation, McCartney designed a capsule collection to support the Peter Jackson directed documentary Get Back. The garments including a stylish tote with the images of Stella’s father – Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Sir Ringo Starr and were created in ethically sourced, organic materials using environmentally-friendly processes.
As part of the conscious collaboration with Disney which will also mark International Women’s Month, McCartney created a pant-suit for Minnie Mouse which will debut as part of the designer’s collection for autumn/winter 2022 at Paris Fashion Week this March.
“What I love about Minnie is the fact that she embodies happiness, self-expression, authenticity and that she inspires people of all ages around the world. Plus, she has such great style,” McCartney says of her muse.
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Minnie Mouse has quite the enviable wardrobe – with hundreds of outfits after appearances in thousands of comics, several animated shorts and television series, and of course, enough costumes to support her live presence at Disney theme parks around the world.
Minnie’s style has evolved with the cultural changes though British newspaper the Daily Mail argues that “she has also always worn a skirt or dress – and has never rocked pants before this, making her new outfit one that will go down in history.” Actually, Minnie was wearing denim jeans as early in as the 1980s in her own TV Show – ‘Totally Minnie’.
In 2019, when the Disney Cruise Line debuted Captain Minnie, the outfit also consisted of a genderless maritime uniform.
The collaboration with a famous fashion house is not new for Minnie, who at very close to 100 years of age, has spent a lifetime in the spotlight. The influence of Mickey and Minnie and indeed Minnie’s trademark polka dots has been seen as part of fashion weeks and runway shows in London, New York and Tokyo. In 2016, Disney engaged with designers Ji Cheng, Han Lulu, Cindy Soong and Makin Ma in China to mark Shanghai Fashion Week.
The McCartney ensemble includes a blue polka-dot blazer with matching trousers teamed with a pair of black shoes.
‘I wanted Minnie to wear her very first pantsuit at Disneyland Paris, so I have designed one of my iconic costumes – a blue tuxedo – using responsibly sourced fabrics.”
The collaboration also got the thumbs up from many including Hilary Clinton who took to Twitter to give her approval.
Yet the High Snobiety writer, Alexandra Pauley was critical of the collaboration suggesting it was “a ridiculous grab at brownie points.”
She asserts “The makeovers are hardly a step towards meaningful change; they’re purely optics (and a profit-driven marketing ploy, considering that McCartney and Disney will sell that “Divine Feminine” Minnie Mouse shirt in March).”
The appeal of Mickey and Minnie is multi-generational and both iconic characters have outfits that have been relevant and representative of their story-telling over the years. The characters have also had a large sway on apparel with collaborative lines selling successfully year after year, with major retailers such as Target, Primark and GAP.
The controversy created the the pant-suit collaboration indicates that at nearly 100 years old, Minnie Mouse can still dominate the headlines with just a change of clothes. The greatest impression will always be with the children that idolise Minnie, Mickey and friends.
Whether a change of outfit can make any difference to inclusion and the breaking down of stereotypes at any age, remains to be seen. One thing for certain is that Minnie has become loved throughout the generations by staying relevant; I am certain will continue to do so for the next 100 years.