This weekend, no fewer than a dozen people sent me links to this Jezebel article about Disney Princess lingerie being sold by a Japanese retailer. The images were also all over my facebook feed. Check them out:
Although this line is Japanese and is not available here in the States, it’s yet another example of Disney Princess lifestyle branding — an extension of the Disney Princess brand into ever-more-personal realms. The goal of such marketing is to encourage consumers to have a deep identification with the brand—to make the brand central to one’ own identity.
Some people (including the author of the piece at Jezebel) questioned whether these could possibly be licensed products that have the blessing of Disney. One commenter was doubtful, noting that princesses don’t even look right—perhaps they’re knock-offs? But, no—these are actually the most current versions of the Princesses available in Disney Consumer Products Division merchandise, as found on disneyprincess.com.
So, I chatted with my friend Satomi about the ads. She lives in Japan and was already familiar with the company selling these items. “These are sold at ‘Belle Maison,’ a pretty big mail order company,” Satomi explained. “I actually have its wish book right in front of me. It was from a project that people could apply to and if their designs were chosen, they were commercialized.”
“These were for the 20th anniversary project of it’s ‘Disney Fantasy Shop,'” she noted. “I’m sure it’s licensed. They usually deal with original stuff, such as t-shirts, accessories, and furniture. They also carry Mickey t-shirts designed by famous designers.” She sent me these snapshots of their other Disney-licensed products from her copy of Belle Maison’s wish book:
Here’s her approximate translation of the ad copy (she said it’s full of jargon, making the translation tricky):
The highest prize: [Two people’s names—people who won the design contest]
Lingerie like princesses’ dresses
Belle: “In the image of the Belle’s dress, which is airy texture and elegant, it is made pouffy with gather. The rose at the front of bra makes it noble, gorgeous, and classy.” (She added, “It’s sad that they misspelled ‘Belle’ in the ad, even though the company’s name is ‘Belle Maison.'”)
Cinderella: “So that it would have the nuance of a glass slipper, we used delicate glazed chiffon. The color lace makes it like a lily, holding the image of the choker that decorates Cinderella’s neck.”
“The princess’s world you can enjoy secretly”
Aurora: “Describing princess Aurora’s sharp-line dress with tucks and pleats. We put the rose with lace and ribbon in a careful manner, which evokes Aurora’s story.”
Rapunzel: “‘Reproducing’ Rapunzel’s dress with lace-up ribbon. Besides holding lily turn of Rapunzel, we put neat and classy vanilla-colored lace and flowers.”
So, there you have it: Disney Princess apparel for your most intimate moments, meant to help you secretly enjoy the princess world. I suppose you could also wear them under your Disney Princess wedding gown or prom dress, with your Disney Princess shoes, in your home painted with Disney Princess paints or on your Disney Princess honeymoon. You can always slip into your Disney Princess New Balance sneakers afterwards—which will be great when you run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Or when you play Princess-Opoly with the little girls in your life or read to them from the Princess Devotional Bible. Because in today’s world of gender segmentation and gendered marketing, there’s nothing better than all princess, all the time, right?
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