Most “it-girls” can attest that there’s a point at which extreme ubiquity causes the masses to tire of you. And yet here’s Minnie Mouse, pushing 90 years old.
“She’s everywhere” isn’t so much hyperbole as it is fact: She’s wearing custom Olympia Le-Tan at her own party. Collaborating with Commes des Garcons, Lanvin, the Gap and more.
Even more impressive? No one’s sick of her. In fact, thanks to a look that appeals to old and young alike, she gains new fans daily, many introduced via their first Minnie-branded outfit: diapers.
So it’s hardly surprising that such a hot commodity would team up with another in-demand bright young thing: Fine art photographer Gray Malin was tapped for a highly involved aerial photo shoot involving Minnie for the first image in his “Red Carpet Series.”
The Times was invited to peep behind the scenes for the big shoot late last year, which was revealed this week in honor of National Polka Dot Day — Jan. 22, if you didn’t already have it on your calendar.
Sixty dancers in Old Hollywood-inspired dress hit their marks over and over again as choreographer Mary John Frank sweetly but firmly kept count and tweaked their movements. And when the star — Miss Minnie, obviously — appeared on set in one of her signature dotted dresses, they all seemed to stand a little straighter. Tough, for professional dancers, but that’s the magic of the mouse. (A special video component shows off the hypnotic dance, and is previewed on Malin’s Instagram.)
Off-stage, a host of influencers, such as social media stars Ashley Torres (@pursuirtofshoes) and former Miss USA Olivia Jordan, selfied with help from their professional “hair bow” hair styles — bows made literally from their own locks — and had their nails transformed to Minnie-inspired reds, sparkles and decals.
A rack of previous collaborations — Kate Spade, Loungefly, Stance Socks, Keds — was ripe for the picking. Rice Krispie treats and cookies dolled up to look like — who else, Minnie — served as top-level photo props as well as treats. All from a set-up furnished by Minnie’s collaboration with Ethan Allen.
Malin is known best on social media for his aerial photographs that make even the most glamorous sets — Aspen, Capri, the Hamptons — look even more over the top, almost like a luxuriously frosted cake dotted with elegant sprinkles.
With Malin’s signature stance, atop the rafters of the studio, the dancers with their umbrellas turn into polka dots, bouncing to up-tempo music.
While Miss Mouse was not available to comment, she gamely posed for portraits with signature curled lashes batting. As she and Malin preened together, she cozied up to him as he exclaimed, “Do we look like a cute couple?”
th IMAGE “I’ve always associated Minnie Mouse with Hollywood and timeless style, and I loved the idea of a red carpet scene shot from above,” he said later. “Minnie is so glamorous, and probably one of the most famous characters of all time — certainly the most famous one I’ve photographed.”
An ensuing celebration for the release of the photo series brought Minnie and Malin out once again, this time the former dresses in a custom dress and bag by the designer Olympia Le-Tan, known best for her wild and whimsical book-inspired clutches. Le-Tan designed this particular dress as a one-off — who would want to be pitted against Minnie in a “Who Wore It Best”? — but it was inspired by the French designer’s upcoming Minnie-themed collection, which will arrive in Uniqlo stores this spring.
Wanting a piece of the action? Share you own polka-dotted look with @MinnieStyle, or check out the prints available for purchase via Gray Malin’s website. If you’re looking for a smaller commitment, Instagram-famous Alfred Coffee & Kitchen will be handing out custom coffee sleeves branded with polka dots, as well as #Rockthedots-themed murals outside Melrose Place, Silver Lake and Studio City locations through the end of January.