Disney/Barneys “Electric Avenue” Fashion Cartoon

Disney’s tie-in to Barneys holiday-themed Electric Holiday has yield this 5-minute promotional cartoon, meant to run at Barneys stores as video wallpaper to highlight their fall collection. Mickey, Donald and Goofy (not to mention Daisy, Tiana, and Cruella DeVil) appear in the short, framed as a Minnie Mouse fashion fantasy. Numerous international fashionista’s make cameos including Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Naomi Campbell. Michael Giacchino does the music. A brief behind the scenes video does not credit any animators or director – though Ken Duncan can be spotted if you don’t blink, so we can assume his studio did the work.

Barney’s is also selling lots of upscale expensive, exclusive merch. Meanwhile, check out these frame grabs (click to enlarge gallery) to see your favorite characters looking a little uncomfortable in the latest designs…


  • Pedro Nakama

    Gay.

    • Nic

      Really? You’re a grown adult and you couldn’t think of any better word? Or even an explanation for why you don’t like it?

      • Name withheld

        As a gay person, I have to agree with him.
        That was rather gay.

    • wever

      Isn’t there some CB policy about any one-word post that gets deleted?!!?

  • Zach B.

    What the fu…

  • Glowworm

    While the animation featuring Minnie daydreaming and wandering around before the big fashion show was adorable–as well as the end where Mickey buys her the dress she was eyeing in the store window, The characters as runway models didn’t really work for me. The design was rather stiff and didn’t really look right for most of the characters–especially Minnie and Daisy who merely looked like humans wearing the cartoon characters faces as fashion masks. In fact, in my opinion, the only character who actually looked fabulous in that style was Cruella Deville.

    I did love seeing the characters in their original style at the end wearing the fashions in the credits. Those looked great.

    • Nic

      Fully agree with this. The whole thing isn’t as left-field as it seems. All little kids have fantasies of being surrounded by the famous and being treated like they’re famous. (And if it’s not that then it’s the ‘I’m a badass and you just wait until I grow up and show you’ fantasy)

      It just turned a little awkward with the runway walk.

    • Polecat

      Well, I will admit that Cruella was totally in her element!

  • http://sketchamagowza.com Shmorky

    I could not stop cracking up at the emotionless faces on the photographers.

  • http://kicreativestudio.blogspot.com Ki Innis

    Some of the most enjoyable hand-drawn animation I’ve watched all year. Nice caricatures too. That was just fun watching. More please. (Really, please….)

  • http://grillhouse.blogspot.ca/ Steffi-alien

    Way to promote Anorexia and being materialistic…especially by using cartoon characters that are mainly aimed for young children.
    Sad how innocent cartoon characters gets abused in every possible way!
    It scared me as the characters turn into those tall anorexic creatures! And most of the characters would not give a damn about snooty fashion and the horrible fashion industry. Everything in that video feels wrong! I really wonder that anyone who worked on that even cared for the characters and the real message this cartoon spreads. And I’m usually someone that loves seeing different takes and styles on cartoons and comics, but this is just nightmarish!:(

    • Mudmarox

      I’m totally agree with you! You said exactly what it thought when i saw this sad animation :(

    • Nic

      I don’t think we’ve ever been informed of the character’s opinions on political and social issues.

      You’re placing your social grievences on the characters in the same way that the creators are forcing their love of fashion on them. It’s not different just because you think your cause is right.

      This really isn’t a far off fantasy for a lot of kids. Wanting to be one of the grown ups, growing up to be beautiful and famous. That’s not far off from a lot of my peer group when I was little. It’s not inherently bad. Kids also often imagine themselves growing up to be super hero-like. But no one says anything because wanting to be a badass isn’t a hot button issue like anorexia.

      I’m not necessarily saying this thing is great, but I really doubt it was made with malicious intent. I also don’t believe that the amount of damage people are roaring about is likely to actually occur.

      • http://grillhouse.blogspot.ca/ Steffi-alien

        I have to say that this video was pretty shocking when I saw it and wrote my comment and I agree with you on some points!

        Even today to lots of people anything cartoon-like is “kids stuff” and I’m sure lots of young children will see that video.
        Like you said, there’s nothing wrong about dreaming what you would like to be but a dream of being sickly anorexic sounds rather scary to me.

        And if you know what really goes on in the fashion industry, how models that are still underage and growing are fliving an very unhealthy life(even risking death!) just for a short time of fame.
        This video alone might not cause a big problem, but it is one of many things you see in the mass-media that sells false images to our society. How many people these days feel unhappy with their looks? We don’t need anymore promotions of superficial and unhealthy lifestyles.

      • Zekumi

        I don’t get your logic. Hypothetically, in what way could being a badass be as harmful (mentally and physically) to a person as being anorexic?

        Anorexia is a “hot button” issue because it’s prevalent and damaging to people. As far as I know, being super-hero like or a badass has never hurt anyone.

  • http://grillhouse.blogspot.ca/ Steffi-alien

    mickey_eyes

  • Annabel Cole

    Minnie’s model was all over the place. Sometimes it was late 1940s and sometimes a really unappealing 1980s, like the children’s picture books from that time, with huge eyes and a snout that’s almost invisible from the front. The callout poses used on the end credits were much better drawn.

  • Sarah J

    I’m disturbed that Minnie Mouse has such a human-centric standard of beauty, to the point where she sees a human body as desirable for herself and her other non-human friends. RODENT IS BEAUTIFUL, DAMMIT!

    Okay, in all seriousness… Wasn’t a big fan of the runway scene. Seeing human bodies with the heads of Mickey and Daisy and the other animal characters looks really off, and the animation was pretty stiff.

  • victoria

    I enjoyed it up until the runway scene, I just know that part was forced upon the poor animators :(

  • http://www.moresay.com Brigador

    I thought the runway scene was the most enjoyable. I don’t think just cause the Disney characters were skinny it promotes anorexia, not EVERYONE who is skinny or into fashion is so…just another lame terminology to round up cartoon like cattle giving them a stereotypical name…I did not see the video pushing kids to be materialist or having to be skinny in fact I think it was the opposite, be happy with what you have and the rest will follow. I was actually at the unveiling of the store front and I think it definatly embodied the holiday season. After this I see holiday store front art getting more extravagant from here on out.

    • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

      I can hear your tone of voice when I read your words

  • Schultz!!!!!

    I can see fashion design being linked to the Disney art department. I don’t see where this fits in, though:

    http://tinyurl.com/c7ooyre

  • Spencer

    Glad to see Toon Boom is making its way nicely!

    Noooot so sure what to say about the principle of the whole thing though.

  • Nate W

    Aside from everyone’s complaining about implied messages promoting anorexia and careless style changes, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Hook’s expression at 2:57

    • Polecat

      I second that!

  • Eman

    Fantastic.

    Now never ever slap Disney heads on thin bodies like that ever again. Please.

  • http://oye-studios.daportfolio.com Seni

    What’s Sarah Jessica Parker doing in that video?

    • Tabitha

      She fits in easily with the other “animal heads on human bodies” theme the video creates.

  • wever

    ……. what is it with Disney characters and awkwardly redesigning them for fashion advertising in New York?

  • Mike

    I’m simultaneously thrilled to see some good old-fashioned animation with these characters (occasionally off-model as it were) and sickened that it’s just being farmed for some soulless marketing ploy. It’s a shame to see that this is all the fab five means to Disney corporate these days.

  • Hey now

    Snow White is bulimic now? Well, I suppose that will help when ingesting poisoned fruit.

  • Conor

    There was a lot of really cool stuff here, a lot of interesting stylizations, a neat Jaime Hewlett kind of vibe to some of the caricatures. Then the body morphing stuff happened. Yeesh. Even ignoring the connotations of the scene, it’s just the worst looking thing in the short. Bored looking cartoon heads pasted lazily on super model bodies. Again, yeesh.

  • http://rubberhousestudio.com/ Ivan Dixon

    I thought having Goofy as a model was hilarious. I now want to see a “How To Be A Fashion Model” Goofy short.
    Also nice little cameos from older characters. I like how Captain Hook was checking out Cruella. Such a cute couple.

    • Kristjan B.

      Would have made more sense than this train wreeck

  • Pablo

    WHY GOD WHY?

    I’m sorry.

    WHY DISNEY EXECUTIVES WHY?

  • Charles M.

    Although I enjoyed the fluidity and charm of Minne’s animation throughout the short, I wasn’t too much impressed by anything else. Fashion has always been a dull concept to me, I see it like this if it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer does it matter how it looks? Honestly.

    And its odd that the celebrities were credited and not the animators or the very least the studio behind it. Anyway, a decent piece of animation.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      That was the part that annoyed me, leaving the true artists out of the mix altogether (and as someone else stated, why Sarah Jessica Parker, though I’ve probably been under a rock too long to know much of her recent doings?). I could do without the runway show bit personally, everything else was OK.

  • James

    Couldn’t stop laughing at that runway scene. Goofy’s was probably the funniest.

  • http://kicreativestudio.blogspot.com/ Ki Innis

    I’m surprised people are finding issues with this. This was made for the client : Barney’s New York. It’s more important they are happy, not us animation-philes.

    There was some good animation in here, especially the shot with Minnie and the mirror. Beautiful. It could have been worse. It could have been done in CG ala Mickey’s Clubhouse. And that’s not funny either.

    (And to those who think this is a promotion of anorexic bodies, pay attention to the end. Minnie is admiring herself in the same dress in her normal cute short body , stubby legs and all.)

    • Mudmarox

      Yes but in her dream she is skinny and has the same idiot face with half closed eyes of models.
      So maybe she is ok with her new dress looking at the mirror, but in her dream she want to be tall and skeletal.

      • JoeSchmoe

        What or who are you in your dreams, the same boring schlub you are in reality? It’s called caricature; it’s a dream sequence. It was hilarious. I’m going to watch it again. And laugh even more.

  • http://www.davidfreedman.co.uk David Freedman

    That was odd. And if fashion isn’t meant to be odd than what is? But I can just imagine the designer screaming with a fit that he (or was it a she?) will NOT be able to live another day if his clothes are seen on a short dumpy model. “I don’t care if she’s a famous cartoon!! She needs long legs or the dress will look like a disaster dahling!!” Still, odd or not odd… it was a bit of fun. By the way, have you noticed that nobody in fashion ever seems to smile? Are we the only creative people out there having fun?

    • Polecat

      You know, I always thought that many fashion drawings of the past 20 years stunk, but I never thought that might be why they make them look so skinny. Love the old Art Deco fashion plates of the 1920s though–much less visually grating.

  • http://erikbutter.blogspot.com Erik Butter

    Wow this is a whole new level of stupidity.
    And I loved the blank stares of all the human characters.

  • Roberto González

    Definitely a mixture of good and bad. I’m not a fan of fashion either but I can accept the concept. This is not the first time Disney sells their characters for marketing, so whatever concept is acceptable if done right.

    I hate the super skinny bodies though. Maybe the shorts doesn’t promote anorexia-as in the message of the story being about that- but those images kinda do it by themselves. The Disney characters in human bodies is already an odd concept but the bodies being that skinny is too much for me. I think it could have been done without the magical transformation, just showing their regular aspect and just having them posing. I think Goofy kinda worked. It’s completely out of character for him, but then again, that’s why it’s funny and Goofy has always been a character of characters, so to speak, that could transform in anything he wants.

    The actual animation has some good moments and others that look more stiff or mixing too many different styles, but I like that they are using caricatures, even though I don’t know who most of these people are.

  • Roberto González

    Also, I guess Daisy and Minnie don’t have ‘supermodel’ figures, although they’re cute, but doesn’t Snowhite qualify as a good looking girl anymore? She really doesn’t need to become more skinny to be a fashion model, in my humble opinion.

  • Jonathan

    I have a solution for the energy crisis. Hook up a generator or power lines to Walt Disney’s grave. He’s probably spinning in there incredibly fast….

  • Palmer Pattison

    I’ve heard of GIPE (good idea, poor execution)…. this may be the first example I’ve seen of PIGE (poor idea, good execution). The animation quality is almost good enough to distract me from how bad the concept really is.

  • Baron Lego

    Yawn. About as interesting as a real life fashion show.

  • http://dtoons.com Dtoons

    I actually thought this was pretty neat.
    Sorry guys, I was too busy distracted by the nice 2D animation and character cameos to care about how having cartoon characters perform on runways for this one time with skinny human bodies to promote a line is a travesty that Walt Disney would not approve of, as some would claim.

    I love cartoons, I really do, but I think some people take this a little too seriously.

  • Lauren

    Still better then all that sequel crap Disney Toon used to spew out.

  • akira

    this sucks! great job making your company’s top characters forever have a creepiness about them in my subconscious!!! can’t wait to see what you do with chewbacca!

  • http://www.moviecappa.blogspot.com Mike Caracappa

    You know what’s really sad about this? Apart from a lot of smiling, none of the Disney characters’ true personalities are present.

    With the exception of Minnie, but thats only because she never had much of a personality to begin with.

  • Jon

    Walt Disney is rolling in his grave (or cryogenic capsule)

  • cjseaton

    I’ve never heard of Barney’s before all of this and the only two caricatures I recognized were Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga. I don’t believe I am the target audience for this piece… or my kids for that matter.

    • JoeSchmoe

      You’re exactly right. You aren’t. Had you read the piece that preceded it you’d know this was, in fact, a Barney’s commercial, to be played at Barney’s stores. Not in the Wal-Mart where you and your kids shop.

      • Polecat

        Ouch. Look Joe, this blog is read all over the world, and for all you know this guy might be in the UK or Australia where they have neither Barney’s nor Wal-Mart. Just saying.

  • RODAN

    Disney has 4 billion dollars for jar jar binks and this is what they give us? Woe to the iconic memory and legacy of it’s founder—- Pathetic!

    • Joel

      To be fair, this is only meant to be played as video wallpaper in Barneys stores. If this were a full-on short or film released by the studio or even an ad pushed toward the general public, it’d be pretty pathetic (not that it’s great or even very good otherwise).

  • Mel

    If the professional dog fighting circuit down south had Barney’s level of funding, we’d see Mickey, Daisy and Goofy hanging with Michael Vick.

  • Jim Engel

    Why weren’t Minnie’s “model body” black, and Daisy’s white (with orange legs)?

  • Doz Hewson

    FWOAN. MY. GOD.
    There’re no other words immediately findable for this.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com tony mines

    I hope when that anorexic Snow White emerged, that lady was writing in her notepad ‘this shit is fucked up’.

  • Luis

    The show is nice but the Fashion part is down right disgusting in every way especially that these are family characters showing kids that it is NOT okay to look like yourself and must be tall and skinny to be noticed.

  • http://mrcontro.tumblr.com/ Tres Swygert

    That was the worst behind the scenes video I’ve ever seen. Barely talked about the process, barely showed the work bein’ done. And Disney allowed this.

    Lame.

  • http://los-utopicos.blogspot.mx/ allari

    Those cameos looked so bored.

  • dbenson

    The ending has Minnie putting the dress on her usual non-distorted self and being thrilled about it. It’s not positioned as a joke or a moral or anything else; it’s just there as if nobody thought about it either way.

    Viewing this as the marketing project it is, they missed a great opportunity to do something that says “Fashion is fun and available to any non-supermodel (who can afford Barneys)”. One way: Put the real Minnie on the runway among the supermodels, either affecting their look or being her standard giddy self, and getting the same ultra-cool admiration.

    Also, the real-life celebrities come off as purposefully bland, like animated credits on a TV comedy. They didn’t really interact with the cartoon characters (Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, should have been either comically fascinated or turned off by a rakish Donald Duck). Somebody should have studied “Mickey’s Gala Premiere” a lot more. Or maybe they did, and a higher power dictated the celebs be treated reverently.

    Then again, maybe the brief was to create visual wallpaper that wouldn’t draw attention — Just interesting imagery when somebody happened to glance at it.

  • GuruJ

    Hmm. I was initially pretty off-put by the stills I saw earlier of Minnie, but actually when she’s on the catwalk she doesn’t look too bad. Same with Mickey, and Goofy looks born to be there! Cruella is obviously all about fashion anyway so no big leap there. Funny that reshaping the least-caricatured characters (Snow White, Tiana) felt most “off”.

    I actually took the cold, angular figures of the fashion set to be a deliberate contrast between the “warmth” of Minnie (ie you don’t have to be some kind of fashion junkie to enjoy our clothes). So from that perspective I thought it was quite clever.

  • http://www.moviecappa.blogspot.com Mike Caracappa

    In my first year animation class, I remember my teacher, a professional Disney animator at the time, did a demonstration of clarity of emotion in which he broke down the emotions of a character to its simpilest form. On the white board he drew a simple “stick figure face” with two eyes, two straight parallel eyebrows, and an even straight line for a mouth. He then asked us, the class, to tell him what this character was feeling. We were novice first-year animation students, so we listed off a bunch of suggestions “Depressed”, “Contemplative”, “Curious”, “Distracted”, “Frustrated”, “Disapointed”, etc., and he wrote down all of the emotions we said and listed them next to the drawing. Then as soon as we were done, he drew another face, the time one with high eyebrows and and obvious happy smile on his face. “How does this character feel?” he asked. We all chimed in, “Happy”! Granted, that’s a very basic example, but it’s the most fundemental, Animation 101 lesson you learn right away: Always be clear with emotions with your characters. It’s communication with your audience. How they feel…what they have to say. Subtle acting is much harder in animation than live action that takes tremendous skill and YEARS of practice to pull off.

    So I have to ask, looking at the five pictures above: Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Snow White…all with the exact same vacant expression, all of which could have been compared to that dead eyed straight face stick figure drawing my teacher did, which is pretty much identical. And add the fact this video was done by professional animators who clearly know this is something you do not do in animation unless that’s the message you’re trying to convey.
    So to the professional animators who worked on this…these images of the five characters on the runway with vacant stares…I gotta ask, what exactly are we trying to say here? Is this an in joke? Super models are vacant and empty, and now apparently, so are the Disney characters? Or did the advertisers not know what they wanted and just asked they be toned down till the characters showed no sign of emotion? I suppose if there’s any clarity about what to feel, it’s irony.

    Kinda makes you wonder doesn’t it.

  • Polecat

    My reaction was mixed, to say the least. Technically, the animation overall was good, except for the models in the fashion show, and the cameos, most of whom I didn’t recognize anyway. But it was still one big promo/commercial, and that made the concept boring.

    Did anyone else notice that Minnie and Daisy weren’t quite as thin as they were in the first pictures posted on the Brew a couple of months ago? But Tiana and Snow White still had twigs for legs. I remember commenting previously that it was a good thing they didn’t use the Disney princesses. Spoke too soon. (Maybe Barney’s would’ve been better off working with Fleischer so they could get the rights to Olive Oyl.;)

    I liked the ending, and I liked seeing the characters in the credits–thank goodness Goofy became clumsy and gawky again!

  • ParamountCartoons

    Someone had the Pixar and Silver Age Warner Bros. influence by drawing Carl Fredricksen-like glasses on people with glasses.

    We’ve come a long way from “Mickey’s Suprise Party” (Nabisco) and “The Standard Prade” (Standard Oil)

    and this was fun to watch, and most of the non-Disney character designs were very different than the studio’s trademark styles. That’s what’s lacking about human characters in Warner Bros. Animation today, just look at “The Looney Tunes Show” or even Tom & Jerry DTV movies!

  • http://www.animatorisland.com/ J.K. Riki

    Whomever animated Hook did a brilliant job, kudos. Sadly the rest just reminded me of how much less quality and care is put into Mickey and the crew these days, compared to the days of old. Ah well, can’t live in the past. Still, I’m going to go watch a few old Mickey shorts now to see what we should all be striving for.

  • s.w

    Well, we sure all got worked up over nothing. That runway show clearly consisted of models in mascot heads – unless plucking feathers and shaving mice is fashion forward as well.

    The end credits were nice; take that as you will.

  • wever

    Because this was more of a commercial than any kind of narrative, it reeked of executive decisions. I bet the need to make the cameos resemble those they caricatured was so stringent that they didn’t allow any expression on any of them, and the fashion show itself had absolutely no freedom to act.

  • MissConception

    Stiff, robotic, and unappealing overall, ignoring several principles of animation established by Frank and Ollie themselves.

    So I guess this was a success in replicating the fashion industry. I hope Barney’s paid several fortunes for this.

  • H Park

    While I understand that this video is to promote a fashion line, but overall presentation of the animation is boring as hell. There is nothing exciting about Disney characters just walking down on the catwalk and cameo appearance of celebrity figures and fashion designers. Its mini narrative lacks fantastic elements that makes animation special.

  • Brianna Jonson

    The Character Animation it’s self was very nice,(for the most part). I agree with Minnie Mouse looking off model at quite a few points, which really is excusable. I mean, I can manage to stay on model with my characters but they can’t?
    I don’t think Barney’s or Disney was attempting to promote any eating disorders with the whole catwalk scene. I don’t know much about fashion, but I have seen a few runaway shows and have even looked an fashion concept sketches. These drawings and models are almost always drawn really thin, hell they are supposed to be like walking hangers. So that in theory didn’t really bother me. Sure the animation during the walk was stiff as hell but I think that was the point. Models don’t normally do crazy things on the catwalk and I believe that’s what they were going for. But the character’s themselves just looked creepy as shit. So, no argument there.

  • http://www.skwigly.co.uk Steve Henderson

    Disney are scared of releasing their characters in new animated shorts but will release them in THIS?

    I mean, you presumably had Ken Duncan and many other talented guys making the very best of a bad brief (some nice moments, the Hook ‘look’ and other little bits worked for me) what they should be doing is setting off all this talent and the back catalogue of characters in shorts that people would recognise as Disney shorts. Make another ‘How to Hook Up Your Home Theatre’ or continue trying to do what you did recently with ‘The Ballad of Nessie’ or ‘Paperman’.

    It is clearly there to be seen otherwise it would not be on YouTube so the ‘not for us’ argument is pretty invalid.

    • Polecat

      I missed out on “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”. What was it? Sounds like one of those shorts where Goofy demonstrates how to screw up any given task.

      • http://www.skwigly.co.uk Steve Henderson

        That is exactly what it is. And a fine cartoon it is too.

        • Polecat

          Thanks for the tip. Just saw it on YouTube and loved it!

  • Kristjan B.

    Walt Elias Disney must be turning in his grave.

  • purin

    Two handed photography cracked me up. That bit where Captain Hook raised his eyebrows looking at Cruella (the magic didn’t do that much to her, did it?) also was pretty funny. This bit needed more gags like that.

    There was some cute stuff in there, and, well… they did get that disturbing dead-eyed fashion model face in there, along with that bizarre fashion model walk, but I suppose they couldn’t fully parody it here for obvious reasons.