How The Worlds Of Art, Fashion And Design Celebrated 90 Years Of Mickey Mouse
On the cover: Photo by Danielle Valente, via Timeout.
On November 18th, 1928 the World was introduced to what would become the most popular and profitable mouse in history. At the time, the short animated film Steamboat Willie starred, for the first time, Mickey Mouse and his optimistic personality that marked childhoods all over the world. “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse,” Disney once said.
The legacy of Mickey Mouse is truly remarkable as its influence can be seen across art, fashion and design for almost a hundred years. To celebrate the icon’s 90th anniversary, artists, fashion labels and designers everywhere are releasing exclusive collections and exhibitions. Let’s take a look at some of the most stunning tributes to Mickey made for the occasion.
Disney definitely went big for its star character’s anniversary. Organised by Disney and curated by Darren Romanelli, “Mickey: The True Original” is an immersive exhibition located in a 16,000-foot space downtown Manhattan. Exploring Mickey’s status as a “true original”, the exhibition examines the evolution of the icon through time, mixing items from the archives and original artworks from a dozen modern artists, such as Daniel Arsham, Kenny Scharf, James Jean and more.
“With the scale of Disney and who Mickey Mouse has become, a lot of people forget that Walt Disney was a real artist. Being able to make my own mark on his legacy is a real dream,” Daniel Arsham said when asked about his participation to the exhibit. Arsham’s piece is inspired by Mickey Mouse’s “Thru the Mirror” where he moves through the Architecture, like many of the artist’s work.
“Created to celebrate 90 years of the mouse, Mickey and Minnie are transformed into porcelain succulents frozen in time after decades of constant evolution, shedding and regrowing petals in the firmament of our imaginations,” James Jean shared about his precious Mickey and Minnie sculptures.
For his part, Kenny Scharf created “The Cosmic Cavern”, a neon blacklight universe inspired by Mickey’s classic wrist watch, one of Disney’s first licensed product. “To utilize Mickey, it was just a natural thing. I wanted to create a place of fantasy and fun,” he explains.
Festivities started early at Vans with a first capsule collection being launched in late August 2018. For the occasion, multiple renowned artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Taka Hayashi and Mister Cartoon, customised an OG SK8-Hi LX with their own designs of the famous mouse.
Then, in October, the sneaker brand launched another collection in collaboration with Disney with a greater selection of apparel and shoes. This time, Vans wanted to feature the icon’s notable on-screen appearances.
Finally, just in time for the Holidays, the brand launched a third collection. Highlighting key moment’s of Mickey’s history and celebrating its evolution through time, this third hommage focuses mainly on the Vans Authentic silhouette, in addition to long-sleeve and Jockey Hats pieces.
Locally, Canadian fashion brand Frank and Oak was also approached by Disney to create a capsule collection for Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary. Including 12 different styles, the collection has a retro feel with a modern twist.
“Mickey is a symbol of joy to so many, a glee recalling simpler times. In light of the challenges the world facing today, it was important for us to show the resilient and determined side of Mickey as a reflection what optimism means to us today. In our interpretation featured in our collection, Mickey stands proud and defiant,” creative director, Edmund Lam, explains about the collection.
For its part, Bruxelles is celebrating Mickey’s 90th anniversary in the streets. Under the artistic direction of street art festival Crystal Ship’s commissioner, the project called on local artists like Oak Oak and Joachim to pay homage to Disney’s famous character. For the occasion, the city welcomed numerous new public artworks on boutiques’ façades, walls, garage doors, trams, as well as in the underground metro stations.
Artwork by Joachim.
Artwork by Oak Oak.