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The fashion runway will become the Happiest Place on Earth as Disneyland kicks off a yearlong celebration of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday Wednesday night by hosting only the second fashion show in the park’s 53-year history. (The first was in 1978, and titled, “The Evolution of the American Woman.”)
“The Happiest Show on Earth” as it’s being called, will feature the spring collection from the whimsical Opening Ceremony fashion brand designed by SoCal natives Humberto Leon and Carol Lim.
Jessica Alba, Spike Jonze and Chance the Rapper will be among the 700 guests attending the after-hours fete in Toontown, which will showcase “glam-meets-sport” gowns, faux fur jackets, sweatshirts and more inspired by the iconic cartoon rodent who made his 1928 big-screen debut in Steamboat Willie. The show will also be live-streamed in New York’s Times Square, and a portion of the men’s and women’s collection will be immediately for sale at the park, at ShopDisney.com and at Opening Ceremony stores.
“Doing something at Disneyland we’ve dreamed of for years,” says Leon, a self-described mall rat who was raised in the Valley but now lives in New York. “Growing up, I even made my own Mickey Mouse bow tie and cummerbund for my prom.”
A fashion discovery zone, the first Opening Ceremony store bowed in New York City in 2002, followed by locations in L.A. and Asia. In addition to designing their own Opening Ceremony label, and the LVMH-owned Kenzo, Leon and Lim have collaborated on limited-edition product over the years with dozens of heritage brands, including Pendleton, Stetson, Reyn Spooner, Teva and now Disney, earning a reputation for being able to turn old into hipster gold.
Tight-knit with the Hollywood community (and repped by WME-IMG), they often bring a performance aspect to their fashion presentations, whether it’s collaborating with visual futurist Syd Mead of Blade Runner fame on hovercrafts for a runway set, or tapping Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein for a political passion play to get out the vote.
“We want to treat people to something really special and create a lasting memory. We want them to remember our dinner where Lauryn Hill performed, or the New York City Ballet dance performance at the Metropolitan Opera,” says Leon of past fashion show/experiences they’ve hosted. “We try to bring culture to fashion and fashion to culture. It’s that dichotomy that’s made this business interesting for us.”
A version of this story first appeared in the March 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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