In the spirit of the Ghost of Christmas Realism, the facts are thus: the percentage of people (stateside) who own their home is dropping to the lowest levels ever; over half of all college grads remain un- or under-employed; at least 3 out of 10 people report being out of work for a year or more; a quarter of American children need food stamps to eat; the US debt keeps growing at the rate of $2 million per minute; and my "favorite" tealeaf in the teacup that this depressing depression: apparently, in Detroit, Michigan, things have gotten so bad you can purchase a three-bedroom house for less than 1/5 of what it costs to buy a new Balenciaga bag.
So what are concerned citizens up in arms about? Helping make sure children eat? Jobs? These $500 houses in Motown?
No, what's apparently a threat to our moral fiber is a holiday collaboration between two industries which specialize in fantasies: high fashion & Disney.
To celebrate the 2012 holiday season, Barneys New York and the entertainment giant sent some of the beloved Disney characters to La Ville-Lumière to walk the runway as part of the "Electric Holiday" ad campaign. "Minnie and Mickey are transported into a fantasy world where they are transformed from their traditional Disney form into dream-like fashion-forward runway models, and are joined on the Paris runway by five other models evocative of other iconic Disney personalities: Goofy, Daisy Duck, Snow White, Princess Tiana, and Cruella de Vil," explain the powers that be behind this collaboration. "Each transformed Disney model is dressed in a one-of a-kind exclusive look created by some of the most influential fashion designers in the world, including: Nicholas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, Oliver Rousteing for Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Peter Copping for Nina Ricci, Proenza Schouler, and Rick Owens." A short movie created by Disney artists features a posse of fash insiders - hair, makeup, photographers, journos, editors, celebs & the weirdo fash-hangers on that are fixtures in the front row (easily identified by their clown makeup, ridiculous get-ups & preening body language normally seen on a 16 year old boy rather than an aging fashion victim).
The result? A unique Paris fashion show with some real-world elements sprinkled over a whole lotta fantasy.
So lemme get this straight: no one gets shot, stabbed, violently attacked, blown up, or nuttin?! No pimps or hos, even? Sounds kinda boring, maybe, but dangerous? Blogger Ragen Chastain, a dancer & self-described "fat person" seems to think so. She's now promoting the bejeezus out of a melodramatic online petition she wrote to get Barneys to "leave Minnie Mouse alone". "There is something wrong with changing a beloved children’s character’s body so that it looks good in a dress that almost nobody looks good in - adding to the tremendous pressure on young girls and women to attain photoshop perfection," she writes. Um, this is a mouse in a dress (albeit Lanvin) we're talking about. "The problem isn’t with Minnie's body, it’s with a dress that only looks good on a woman who is 5’11 and a size zero." The statistics on eating disorders and body shape are duly paraded out, with the heart-tugging observation that girls are under pressure to be thin just got betrayed by their beloved childhood friend who, by wearing a fantasy frock in a fantasy sequence, is somehow telling them "that the only good body is a tall, size 0 body." *sigh* (I dread to think what she has to say about that other childhood pal of girls everywhere - inhumanely scaled, possession-obsessed & beloved the world over - Barbie.)
"The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress,” Barney's creative director Dennis Freedman had told Disney execs. "There was a real moment of silence because these characters don’t change. "I said, ‘If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie.’ When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models."
The fact that Goofy - getting his inner badass on in Balmain, no less - and Mickey are up there catwalking right along with Minnie & company will probably tell even the most checked-out kid something: that this is a fun FANTASY. To think otherwise seriously underestimates kids, in my (Lanvin loving & self-described "skinny person") opinion.
- Lesley Scott