Minnie Mouse has been having a major fashion moment as of late, but when you look back through Disney’s history you realize…she’s pretty much always been having a moment. Vans is the latest to immortalize her as a fashion icon, including the fabulous little rodent in its special Disney capsule collection, released earlier this summer. But long before the world had ever heard of a fashion collaboration, Minnie was brushing elbows with some of the style world’s biggest names.
Minnie and friends in 1937
The iconic polka-dot skirt? It was inspired by Coco Chanel’s designs from the 1920s. Twenty years later, her original outfit became a touch more voluminous due to Christian Dior’s infamous New Look (the same postwar runway styling that influenced women’s wardrobes around the globe). And while you’d be forgiven for identifying the pillbox hat exclusively with Jackie Kennedy., Minnie can lay some claim to it too.
“She’s always evolved through the decades. Like in the ’30s, her pillbox hat with the daisy was such an icon that women’s hats started to reduce in size significantly,” Soo Koo, a vice president within Disney’s Consumer Products division, told Glamour. “The character has really aligned itself with fashion.”
Shoppers and fashion-observers might have noticed the recent spate of Minnie-connected offerings (like Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s and Dazed‘s high-fashion photo shoot), but don’t be confused: =The character has been in this game for a long time.
A look at the process from Vans’ recent collaboration with Disney.
“She’s one of our most universally recognized characters,” Koo said. “We’ve been collaborating with designers for the past 10 years, from Comme des Garçons to a high-end Italian furniture designer. Lanvin even did a dress for Minnie to celebrate her 20th anniversary in the parks in Paris.”
The Vans connection itself might have fresh stock to offer, but it’s a relationship that’s familiar to Minnie and friends.
“We have a relationship that dates back to the [Vans founder] Van Doren days, which began in the late ’60s, early ’70s,” explained Vans’ head designer Rian Pozzebon. “Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Winnie the Pooh were actually featured on Vans footwear back in the ’80s, so when we worked with the Disney group [this time], it felt right to blend their classics with our classics.”
The Vans team deconstructing Minnie’s signature shoes.