Disney

Is Minnie too skinny? Disney icons go on a diet -- for fashion

Aug. 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM ET

Disney Junior, Barneys /
Barneys and The Walt Disney Company's "Electric Holiday" campaign re-imagines beloved Disney characters, such as Minnie Mouse, as fashion models.

Minnie, Goofy, Daisy – timeless, complete characters who don’t need to change a thing, right? Unless you talk to the fashion industry.

The trusty cartoon gang landed a sweet gig fronting the new Barney’s 2012 holiday campaign “Electric Holiday” (release date: Nov. 14, in collaboration with the Walt Disney Co.), which pays homage to the beloved characters – along with Disneyland’s famous Electrical Parade – with light installations at the New York flagship store and a short film portraying the characters as models. But the creative forces had a few issues with … the size of the fictional characters. Barney’s creative director Dennis Freedman explained to WWD that although he had intended to portray them as accurately as he “possibly could,” he just couldn’t envision their round, toon-ish physiques doing right by couture brands:

"When we got to the moment when all Disney characters walk on the runway, there was a discussion. The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress. 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,’ and they agreed. When you see Goofy, Minnie and Mickey, they are runway models.”

Behold, the fashion makeovers! (Please, shield your children's eyes!)

Barney's /
Barneys and The Walt Disney Co. collaborated on a new holiday campaign that stripped Goofy of all his dog park cred.

 We’re all about having fun with cartoons (hey! Who doesn’t love Hipster Ariel?), but these campaign images seem somewhat alarming: Minnie looks smarmy and anorexic, Goofy unrecognizable, and where is Daisy Duck’s signature purple!?

Barney's /
Without her purple power, Daisy Duck might as well be naked.

It comes down to this: Why can’t we even stop our anthropomorphic animals from societal pressure?

Although, perhaps Barney’s was simply trying to portray the truth about the fashion industry: The models are (generally) that skinny and tall, and sometimes the male models do look that silly in a Michael Jackson-esque Balmain jacket.

“The important thing to me was always that it had to be authentic,” explained Freeman. “It really had to hit the nail on the head in every detail.”

We wish Disney could have taken some cues from Miss Piggy, another fictional character who has been (repeatedly) given the designer fashion treatment. As Styleite points out, "that pig didn’t have to go on a diet” to don Louis Vuitton, Giles Deacon or Zac Posen. Her body is purely celebrated, hooves and all.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the new campaign? Let us know!

Rina Raphael is a TODAY editor who thinks the fashion industry needs a visit from Statler and Waldorf.

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