The romantic and whimsical characters of “Alice in Wonderland” have long been muses on fashion’s cat walks.
But few designers get to realize their vision of the Lewis Carroll classic with the Walt Disney Co.’s marketing muscle behind them.
Not so for Sue Wong, an L.A. couture designer.
Wong, who loved the Carroll novels as a child, is part of a cadre of high-end designers and companies Disney commissioned to create licensed fashion and accessories in anticipation of Tim Burton’s adaptation of the classic children’s novel, which will open in movie theaters in March.
The dresses will be sold at Bloomingdale’s and other high-end department stores.
“The whole dream fantasy world aspect really charges the imagination in really a freeform sort of way,” said Wong. “This has been a wonderful opportunity.”
Wong, who frequently turns to classic cinema heroines for inspiration, has translated characters such as Alice, the Red Queen and even the White Rabbit into a spring line of flirty party dresses and elegant evening gowns that will range in price from $329 to $609.
Disney has signed other luxury brands in the past and features another L.A. couture designer, Kirstie Kelly, in a bridal line. But the Alice rollout is the one of the Burbank entertainment giant’s most ambitious forays into the luxury market to date.
“We are a fashion lifestyle brand,” said Pam Lifford, executive vice president for global fashion and home at Disney Consumer Products, which also has an upscale furniture line devoid of any Mickey Mouse
Disney is pulling out all the promotional stops for “Alice.” Seven Bloomingdale’s stores around the country, including the Beverly Center and Century City locations, are featuring multimedia displays showcasing Wong’s dresses.
“My line is in several countries, but after the (“Alice”) announcement was made, we received media inquiries in languages I didn’t recognize,” said Wong, who immigrated as a small child to the United States from China in 1949. “The whole Disney PR machine has really been great.”
Wong’s licensing agent, Jane Putch of Eyebait Licensing in Los Angeles, said her client’s “Alice” line is available at the same stores where she is usually carried, such as Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus. But the Disney link is sure to introduce her work to a wider audience.
“It’s a wonderful way to leverage her brand,” Putch said.
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