When The Walt Disney Company premiered its anthology television series on ABC in 1954, the pioneer and first president himself Walt Disney stated: “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
If Walt were still alive today, he would be glad to know that what he said still holds true to the world 90 years on: from the 57 feature films under Walt Disney Studios (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Pocahontas and more), not inclusive of the 20 more produced under Pixar Animation Studios (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles – all of which amounts to almost US$13 billion at the box office to date), as well as the ones from the recently acquired giants Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm; to the ever-popular Disneyland theme park in California, which opened in 1955 and has hosted visiting Disney fans that continue to soar throughout the decades, with up to 18.3 million attendees last year – that’s not even including the ones patronising the Disneyland theme parks in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
All of the empiric achievements thus far began with a mouse steering a steamboat in its black and white glory way back in 1928 – in the Steamboat Willie short film, directed by Walt himself and the co-creator of Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks.
This year, various brands came together to honour the beloved mouse’s 90th anniversary, and we have pulled together some of our favourite collections out there that have been stealing the hearts of many, and transporting them back to the good ol’ days of simple 2D cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse.
For the better part of the last century there have only been a handful of symbols that have resonated as true American icons: Mickey Mouse is one, and Levi’s blue jeans are another. In honour of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday this year, the special Mickey x Levi’s collaboration pairs Mickey’s famous iconography with Levi’s classic silhouettes, putting a fresh twist on their celebrated heritage. The Mickey x Levi’s® special edition graphic T-shirts will certainly scratch the itch of today’s streetwear-inspired logo-mania, whereas a special edition Mickey-adorned Levi’s Trucker jacket will be the ultimate collectible for any Levi’s or Disney fan.
On the day of Mickey Mouse’s actual birthday on November 18, Swatch released its limited edition Mickey Mouse 90th Anniversary watches, designed by British artist Damien Hirst. The two limited and numbered Swatch Art Special x Damien Hirst watches include: the Spot Mickey watch (limited to 1,999 pieces), featuring the popular mouse on its dial and is framed with his signature colours on the bracelet; and the Mirror Spot Mickey watch (limited to 19,999 pieces), playing with larger spots, and portrays the little big star against a mirrored background on the bracelet and the dial. Both watches comes in a special edition case, featuring Hirst’s designs that play off each of the watch’s.
The OG of instant phototaking and cartoon come together in the Limited Edition Polaroid 600 Camera – Disney Mickey Mouse Cam, where we see the vintage Polaroid 600 camera refurbished into all its limited edition glory just for Mickey’s birthday. Featuring a colour treatment that pays homage to Mickey’s iconic palette, it’s also customised with signature, animation-inspired character details on the flash bar and face plate – all packed in a bright, bespoke box to go with the rest of your Mickey Mouse memorabilia.
The camera is available in a special anniversary edition set, which consists of the camera and three packs of Mickey’s 90th Anniversary Edition Colour 600 Film, each containing eight out of 12 possible frame designs of the iconic Mickey character elements. The Polaroid camera and the films, in packs of one or three, are also sold separately.
4. H&M X MOSCHINO
Earlier this month, Jeremy Scott has gotten out of the way his tribute to Mickey Mouse (as well as his posse consisting of Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto) in the collaborative MOSCHINO [tv] H&M collection.
A known fan of the cartoon character, Scott has instilled a hip-hop energy to some of Disney’s most iconic characters: oversized patches with Mickey and his crew are embroidered onto the white organic cotton hoodie, while Mickey chills next to speakers on the black organic cotton MOSCHINO logo sweatshirt; Donald Duck takes over the deck on the football jersey, with his top highlighted in sequins; whereas the purple fine knit sweater shows Goofy’s face at the front and feet at the back of the jumper.
Originally launched in 1933 as one of Disney’s first pieces of merchandising, the Nixon’s Mickey Mouse watch has been through many versions throughout the years. This year, Nixon couldn’t possibly have missed out on celebrating Mickey’s 90th with a new Nixon x Mickey Mouse watch collection.
Available in seven designs, Nixon has sweated through the small stuff to bring forth watches fitting for a true original: the Sentry SS and the Time Teller P timepieces feature a multi-layered dial application, in which the Fight Cloud is printed on crystal while the gloved hands move below; while the custom seconds hand in the form of Mickey Mouse’s tail can be seen upon the green dial of the high-calibre Corporal SS timepiece; and not forgetting, the subtle Mickey Mouse buttons detail on the clasp and Nixon-patented locking looper.
6. RAG & BONE
The New York-based fashion brand of combined British heritage with directional and modern design, has become synonymous with innately wearable clothing that melds classic tailoring innovatively with an edgy yet understated New York aesthetic. They choose to celebrate Mickey’s 90th anniversary with a Limited Edition rag and bone x Disney Mickey Mouse capsule, using original sketches from the Disney archive, highlighting Mickey’s evolution over the past nine decades, while bringing a decidedly New York sensibility to his endearing personality.
Always lovable, always authentic, the mouse is reimagined with a modern edge in a graphic T-shirt with multi-texture technique of shiny plastisol and flocking; a special edition Avery shirt crafted from lightweight viscose with a custom all-over graphic; a colour-blocked Tomlin oxford shirt with the mouse’s iconic colours – red, yellow, black and white; which is also reflected upon the Rb1 low-top sneakers.
7. FRANK AND OAK
A brand that is committed to reducing carbon footprint, while providing men with better and affordable wardrobe choices, Montreal-established Frank and Oak is renowned for its inventions of recycled polyester, organic fibres and water-efficient denim worked into its collections. Sustainably made and ethically sourced from its certified manufacturing partners, such as Petites-Mains that support underprivileged women, a portion of its sales made is donated to the human rights organisation Equitas.
That being said, they are also responsible for another hip and modern fashion tribute Mickey Mouse fans may opt for with the Frank and Oak Mickey 90th Anniversary capsule. Standout pieces include the Mickey Mouse all-over print half-zip popover in mango, and the crewneck sweater with rib knit cuffs – echoing a more laidback and casual ensemble that can be worn on a daily basis for another 90 years!
Besides the set of five limited edition Runwell watch set; the Runwell backpack featuring a hand-cut of Mickey’s debut in Steamboat Willie on the brand’s casual refined signature leather; and three flip book journal designs created by Disney’s Fred Moore, who was one of the animators responsible for the 1941 short film, The Nifty Nineties – our eyes are set upon the Shinola x Disney The Mickey Classics Collection limited edition Runwell turntable.
The Detroit brand that has been hard at work bringing manufacturing jobs back to the state, has also been creating luxury goods of the highest quality, ranging from watches (in partnership with Swiss manufacturer Ronda AG), artisanal leather, bicycle and journeys of utmost craftsmanship, and of course, turntables.
For the special edition Runwell turntable, they honour the mouse with a platter coin featuring the legendary Mickey ears silhouette and a black leather slip mat, accented with an embossed ears silhouette. A collector’s item that sounds even better than it looks, it is designed for the discriminating audiophile, yet easy to use by any music enthusiast, with its built-in phono preamplifier, and a belt-driven pulley with speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45rpm.
9. BERNARD CHANDRAN
Local fashion designer Bernard Chandran has also hopped on the homage wagon, by giving Mickey Mouse a makeover. One of the most recognisable pop cultural figures in history has been reimagined in Chandran’s mind how Mickey looks like if he were to show up in public on his 90th birthday: donned in fur sunglasses and rocking a feathered jacket and embellished with jewels in all his luxurious grunge, apparently.
Bernard Chandran x Disney Malaysia collaborative piece is currently on display at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur until January 2, 2019, so make sure you take the time out to have a picture with the groovy old timer!
Most Mickey Mouse collections and memorabilia mentioned in this article and more are also available on the official Disney online store