Karen Walker

SYDNEY — The Walt Disney Co. has tapped New Zealand designer Karen Walker for a capsule collaboration to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday, WWD has learned.

According to sources close to the Auckland-based designer, Walker has designed a limited-edition range of Mickey Mouse-inspired eyewear and jewelery, together with some other merchandise, that may include other accessories and T-shirts, to be released in November to time with the celebrations.

Even Walker’s “Runaway Girl” trademark has apparently been given a Mouseketeer do-over.

It is understood that a version of the trademark — which features a silhouette of a ponytailed girl in boots, carrying a bindle and was designed by Walker’s husband and creative director Mikhail Gherman as a print for the brand’s first London Fashion Week show in 2001 — has been updated with Mickey Mouse ears for the capsule.

Contacted about the tie-up with Disney, Walker said “I’ve no news to share.”

Gabriella Hold, senior manager corporate communications for Walt Disney Australia and New Zealand, said she was unable to make any comment on the project.

Walker joins a phalanx of creatives who are taking part in the 90th birthday celebration of Walt Disney’s most iconic cartoon character, who made his debut at New York’s Colony Theater on Nov. 18, 1928 in the animated short film “Steamboat Willie,” which is considered the first major cartoon to feature synchronized sound.

In March, Opening Ceremony unveiled a Mickey Mouse capsule alongside its spring 2018 collection at Disneyland, with Faith Connexion also said to be working on a similar Disney capsule.

A book of celebrity images shot by Rankin called “Mickey Mouse & Me” is being auctioned on eBay for charity.

September will also see the launch of a Mickey Mouse-themed eyewear collection through Italia Independent, part of a new licensing agreement between Disney and the Italian eyewear company.

It is understood that Walker plans to unveil the Mickey Mouse collection via a Disney activation within her Playpark store in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket in November.

The Playpark pop-up won’t be the only Disney-themed antipodean retail initiative to be unveiled that month.

Last month, Australian department store David Jones and Disney Australia and New Zealand announced a partnership that will see the top floor of David Jones’ Elizabeth Street flagship in Sydney transformed into a large Disney destination that will feature five departments that will showcase the Disney, Marvel and Star Wars brands, among other vendors.

To be opened in late November, it will one of the first completed floors of David Jones’ 200 million Australian dollar or $145 million refurbishment of the flagship that is under way.

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