August 31, 2012
© Courtesy Barneys
My, Minnie, how you've changed!
Barneys, the New York fashion house, has teamed up with The Walt Disney Co. for a special marketing event that will include a display featuring Disney's most iconic characters.
If the pairing of haute couture and the the house that Mickey built seems odd to start with, it gets even weirder: Barneys has gotten the greenlight to give the characters makeovers.
Riffing on Disney's famous electrical parade, the "Electric Holiday" display will include a short film starring Minnie Mouse, who fantasizes about going to Paris fashion shows.
Only this is one skinny Minnie. Barneys has slenderized the famous rodent for the campaign, which launches Nov 14, essentially because she was too frumpy and stumpy.
“The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress," Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman told WWD . "I said, ‘If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,’ and they agreed. When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models.”
The resulting Minnie? A cocaine-thin wisp of a mouse in flapper-esque Lanvin frills.
Daisy Duck, for her part, is similarly slimmed and lengthened, dolled up in Dolce and Gabbana. Goofy is remade as a hipster doofus, complete with skinny leather pants and a military jacket.
The campaign is probably meant all in good fun, but not everyone was pleased with the results .
Disney, the most common complaint goes, is projecting an unhealthy body image. Is this really the message we want to send our daughters?
At the risk of sounding prudish, we're inclined to think not. What's the point here? What's to be gained? Minnie is usually portrayed in a polka dotted frock, with a bow on her head. These designs are borderline pro-ana at their worst, and just plain creepy at best. The whole thing celebrates an insipid vanity and shallowness that maybe we've come to expect from Disney's princess line, but not from Minnie Mouse.
Tell us what you think of the Barneys campaign: Does it cross the line or do you think it's as cute as intended?