Cartoon Couture

This week Barney's unveiled it's new theme for the 2012 Holiday season with these images of slimmed-down Disney characters wearing designer fashion.

Minnie Mouse in Lanvin

Daisy Duck in Dolce & Gabbana

Goofy in Balmain

This got us to thinking about the history of cartoons in fashion. Until the 20s/30s, fashion was a stodgy, serious affair. Visionaries such as Elsa Schiaparelli brought a little humor to the fashion plate + showed us that clothing could be fun + playful while still being fashionable.

In the 60s, artists such as Andy Warhol + Roy Lichtenstein became famous for bringing popular culture into art. The youthful, edgy + playful fashion at the time naturally grabbed hold of the pop art ideal + applied it to wearable garments. Since then, pop culture references have permeated mainstream fashion + have become staples for many designers.

The iconic Andy Warhol Campbell's soup dress | 1991 Versace Couture pop art dress (image courtesy of the Met Museum)

One designer that has made an entire career of incorporating popular culture, especially cartoons, into his designs is Jean Charles de Castelbajac. While often tounge-in-cheek + giggle-inducing, his designs push the boundaries of fashion + what can be considered "high-fashion."

Jean Charles de Castelbajac F/W 2009 Muppet collection

Lady Gaga in JC de Castelbajac Kermit the Frog coat | JC de Castelbajac Superman dress

In our opinions, no designer has done more to poke fun at the fashion industry + pop culture while still remaining uber chic than Franco Moschino. Moschino's designs were humorous + playful without being over the top; even if the piece was based on a cartoon, the main focus was always making a fashionable, wearable garment.

Mochino Cheap + Chic Bugs Bunny waistcoat/vest (image courtesy of Leslie Hindman)

Mochino Cheap + Chic Mickey Mouse waistcoat/vest (image courtesy of Leslie Hindman)

Moschino Micky Mouse themed leather jacket (image courtesy of 1stDibs)

First introduced in 1929, Popeye + his eternal love, Olive Oyl, have long been a pop culture institution, referenced in everything from advertising to fine art.

Roy Lichtenstein Popeye painting, 1961

While seemingly an odd choice, Olive Oyl (or at least her likeness) has become the Moschino muse. The Cheap + Chic perfume was launched in 1995 with an Olive Oyl shaped bottle.

Moschino Cheap + Chic perfume ad, 2001

And, in one of our favorite runway moments ever, Mariacarla Boscano strutted out in the Spring 2004 show dressed as Olive Oyl (and acting every bit the part!) -- watch the video here.

Contemporary Moschino Cheap + Chic scarves featuring Olive Oyl

The first appearance of Popeye + Olive Oyl themed Moschino products appear in 1989/1990 + very rarely come to the market. That's why we were so excited to find these vintage Mochino Pret-a-Porter, Popeye-themed, sailor pants currently for sale in our webstore:

Iconic c. 1989 vintage Moschino Popeye pants. Ultra rare + incredibly hard to find. Super high waist with wide legs + sailor button closure. ICONIC + impossible to find print.

Available at http://www.bustownmodern.com.

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