Grading The Disney Princesses on Magazine Covers: Part 1

You may have already seen these floating about the internet recently. Created by (I presume) whoever runs the Petite Tiaras tumblelog, they’re quite an interesting collection.

Are the magazine a good fit for the characters though? This 3-part weekly series of posts aims to find out.

Snow White in Vogue

Vogue is described on the official Conde Naste site as:

America’s cultural barometer, putting fashion in the context of the larger world we live in- how we dress, live, socialize; what we eat, listen to, watch; who leads and inspires us.

From its beginnings to today, three central principles have set Vogue apart: a commitment to visual genius, investment in storytelling that puts women at the center of the culture, and a selective, optimistic editorial eye.

Vogue’s story is the story of women, of culture, of what is worth knowing and seeing, of individuality and grace, and of the steady power of earned influence. For millions of women each month, Vogue is the eye of the culture, inspiring and challenging them to see things differently, in both themselves and the world.

So does Snow White fit into that kind of magazine? Perhaps not. She is not really a cultural figure per se and her story is far from the usual high-society gossip that one would expect from the pages of Vogue. The cover itself is good, but it does completely neglect any aspect of the fashion scene for which Vogue is [in]famous for.

Overall: B-

Cinderella in ELLE

Surprising enough because she’s facing away from the reader, Cinderella is the cover girl for ELLE magazine, whose mission is:

…to influence women’s whole lives, helping them to be chic, smart, and modern. With intelligent, in-depth writing and a razor-sharp curation of fashion that is at once aspirational and accessible, ELLE’s readers and users are building not just personal style, but personal power.

Cinderella does fit this, for the most part. The stories touch on aspects of fashion with a strong emphasis on the women behind them. Cinderella herself is an aspirational story, as she overcomes the difficulties of being imprisoned in her own house to marrying the prince.

Overall: A-

Tinkerbell in InStyle

Tinkerbell is one of the most well-known Disney characters and has endured and progressed far beyond the original Peter Pan movie.  Featuring on InStyle magazine, which according to the official description has:

…emerged as the world’s premier media brand in celebrity, style, fashion, beauty and beyond. InStyle takes a uniquely fun and inviting attitude towards celebrity style in all its forms including its flagship magazine which reaches an audience of 9.6 million readers each month.

Tinkerbell is most certainly a celebrity in this day and age; being a merchandising powerhouse for Disney and a star in her own movies. InStyle is a good fit for her. She’s a fun character with a positive attitude and it is fair to say that she’s more than just a little bit sassy. This magazine cover is fairly accurate, with a “53 Great Outfit Ideas” article, a few personal articles and even a recipe guide to round it out.

Overall: A

More to come next week in part 2, including Aerial, Princess Aurora and Belle

Disney Deals To Brides!?

Most companies ignore the Immutable Law of Brand Extension and Disney is no exception. No market is ever too obscure or far-fetched to extend your brand into if there is money to be made in it, and how could a company stand by while so much hard earned cash is carelessly thrown away in a market sector it doesn’t have a toe-hold in? The answer is, get in there and grab a share!

The result is Disney Bridal (yes, really), a collaboration between Alfred Angelo (who?) of Philadelphia, PA and the Walt Disney Company of Burbank, CA. Let’s start with some choice quotes from the press release:

Dreams do come true, especially for women who grew up dreaming of a fairy tale wedding modeled after their favorite Disney Princess character……..the bridal gown collection is inspired by the essence, style and personality of seven iconic Disney Princess characters: Ariel, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White and Tiana.

 

“This collaboration is a wonderful testament of two long-standing, established and respected industry leaders…the magic and storytelling heritage of Disney and the internationally renowned bridal fashion of Alfred Angelo”

 

“Every bride wants to be a princess on her wedding day, and through this collaboration with bridal fashion experts Alfred Angelo, we can now extend the reach of the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings brand and make beautiful Disney Princess-inspired gowns accessible to all brides at a broad retail distribution and affordable prices,” says Pam Lifford, executive vice president, global fashion and home, Disney Consumer Products.

 

Michael sought to capture every girl’s fantasy of feeling like a princess on her wedding day, while being inspired by the magic and identity of each Disney Princess.

So, there is plenty of the usual huff and puff you’d find in the press release. But how about the dresses themselves? Let’s have a peek, along with the descriptions for each.

Aerial

The treasures of the sea inspired Ariel’s gown. The mermaid silhouette features re-embroidered lace, pearl beading, and sequin sparkles.

Sleeping Beauty/Aurora

 Aurora/Sleeping Beauty’s gown is romantic with a dreamy, willowy skirt for this slumbering princess.

Belle

 Belle’s wedding dress, with a draped waistline is inspired by the iconic ballroom dance scene from the film and focuses on making a grand entrance.

Cinderalla

Cinderella’s gown radiates with sparkle as its inspiration is the fairy tale’s enchanted glass slipper.

Yes, but does it include a glass slipper as part of the outfit? If not, I’d feel cheated.

Jasmine

Jasmine’s wedding dress conveys freedom and individuality and as a result her shimmering soft satin gown is exotic with a bejeweled neckline and low cut back.

Snow White

Snow White’s dress is inspired by nature, beauty and grace like the Disney Princess character herself.

Tiana

The regal, one-shoulder taffeta gown for our newest princess, Tiana, reflects her independent spirit with an asymmetric bodice and ruched skirt.

BUT WAIT!

All-new for 2011 and just in time for the fabulous (and coincidentally timely) release of the hilarious Disney classic, Tangled, comes this latest addition to the collection!

Rapunzel

Yup, when it comes to Rapunzel, I’m sure not thinking so much about how inspired the dress is as much as I am how the bride’s hair will never live up to the fairytale image.

So there you go. The dresses range in price from a lot to a very lot and naturally have all the uniqueness that a Dow Jones company like Disney is renowned for. Being a guy with no fashion sense, I am nonetheless confident in saying that these dresses use the term “inspired” in the loosest way possible.

I’m sure even Disney knows that real inspiration for clothing like this comes from the character’s clothes more than anything else.

Thankfully, my fiancée saw right through the whole thing (she came up with the title of this post) as soon as she saw the ad in the Knot magazine. Head on over to her blog see why she won’t be getting one of these dresses.

Three Solid Steps To Encouraging A Kid To Take Up Animation

Via The Animator’s Survival Kit.com

Animation is kind of a funny industry in that a vast majority of its ultimate customers have no idea about the nuts and bolts of the products or even the industry behind it. OK, granted, that could be true about any industry, for instance, do you know how roads are designed? Perhaps, but could you tell me how to lay out a road profile, complete with PVC, PVT, K, SSD, HSD and e values? You could! Oh I see, you were pulling my leg, well, shame on me.

One difference is that adults can generally go and read about how to do it but the real difference is that adults have a choice about whether they go and read about it. Kids (for the most part) do not care.

This morning as I sat down to write this post, it occurred to me that the path to my current career was pretty much laid out in advance, school-wise at least. I mean, civil engineering isn’t a spectacularly complex career; it’s not like we’re competing with the medical or law colleges for the best minds in the nation so planning for a career as one was fairly simple.

Which got me thinking, how would you encourage a child that seems hell-bent on doing animation? It’s a bit of a tricky one because plenty of kids love animation but only a select few can understand it and reproduce it.

The first way would be to find the signs. Do they enjoy watching cartoons? Do they doodle all the time? Do they make rudimentary comics? Have they created a universe for their comic/characters? These are all traits of a creative mind at work. I distinctly remember the kids at school who were always drawing or doodling. During the intensely competitive newsletter market in 5th class, there were one or two comics floating around trying to lighten the atmosphere a bit.

Now that you’ve noticed the talent, how do you go about building the foundation for a career? It can vary, but most animators I am aware of (and have talked to) strongly hint that their parents had a fairly large bearing in their early days. This ranges from buying the necessary supplies to, in Brad Bird’s case, driving two and a half hours to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a hokey-poke cinema in Oregon. So the answer would seem to be to encourage creativity and to ensure that the kid has plenty or opportunities to experience the artform.

The third and I suppose final way would be to ensure that the kid receives some sort of formal education in the field. I mean, it is one thing to have natural talent but more often than not, such a skill can run wild and some instruction can go a long way to channeling that energy into something truly creative. There are plenty of good schools out there, both expensive and not so expensive. What matters is that the child at least has the option of going to one.

The ultimate point of this post is that you sometimes hear the stories out there of how parents almost admonish a kid for drawing or doodling in the false belief that they could never earn a living from animation or the creative arts. Such a mindset is defeatist and such discouragement is a sign of ignorance on the part of the parent.

I kinda feel like I’m preaching to the choir on this one, but as a non-animator, this is the kind of stuff I see animators complaining about or regaling in stories about themselves or people they knew. There is no excuse for it so hopefully this post will serve as a bit of a reminder to everyone that we should be encouraging kids to take up the skills if they have an interest in it.