Ashley Eckstein, Ann Shen, Color Me Courtney and Brittney Lee Collaborating on Fashion Lines Coming to the 2022 D23 Expo and shopDisney
To coincide with World Princess Week, shopDisney has revealed that four fashion designers will produce unique collections premiering at the 2022 D23 Expo.
shopDisney’s Nathalie Franco explored not only the collections, but the stories behind them in a series of interviews.
What makes a princess? A princess is courageous, bold, fun and kind –the hero of her own story who leads and impacts her community; and the four ladies in our D23 Expo 2022 Women in Disney Fashion Panel encompass all that and so much more. In honor of World Princess Week, I’m delighted to share with you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at four upcoming Disney collaborations which will debut at D23 Expo 2022 and shopDisney (that’s right, at this year’s D23 Expo, you can shop select collections from shopDisney live throughout September 9-11!), featuring traditional princesses and heroines, and was thoughtfully designed by four powerhouse women in Disney fashion.
Aristocats Artist Series Collection by Ann Shen
Fancy cats and dreamy Parisian style are some of the things that call to our next panelist –Ann Shen. Ann is an illustrator and author who grew up going to Disneyland. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she dreamed of creating magical things her whole life. While many may know and love Ann as a Wonderground artist, she has now expanded into bringing to life a collection of home items and artwork, inspired by beloved characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Aristocats”.
What inspired you to create this collection? I absolutely LOVE home décor! I have an eclectic collection of things I’ve gathered at flea markets and antique stores around the world, and a lot of that influenced the creation of my Disney home collection! I also adore “The Aristocats”, as it combines my love for animals and Paris, France. My passion for animals (I have two cats, two dogs, and three chickens!), Paris, and fancy home flair really came together for this dream collection. I was really inspired by the Aristocats’ beautiful home, and worked hard to incorporate all the lovely details –gold foil, tassels, and vintage colors. The tabletop collection includes many custom sculpts that I hand drew and the Disney Home team helped bring to life in exquisite porcelain! There are also so many special products for our beloved fur friends and for fellow artists –all with my own flair. Everything I dreamed up we were able to make a reality, I’m so excited for everyone to see it!
What’s your favorite Disney memory? When I was little, I always had to ride Jingles on the King Arthur Carousel at Disneyland Resort. Even before I knew Jingles was a special horse, I picked her out as my favorite because of her gold bells, pink ribbons, and roses –my taste has remained consistent, if nothing else! Waiting in line can be stressful, but it was always so rewarding when I was able to hop on her for the best ride around Fantasyland!
Marie is the quintessential lady, what qualities of her do you see in yourself? Marie is just adorable! I’d say I relate to her sassiness, her romanticism, and her love for finer things. And as she would say, “ladies don’t start fights, but they can finish them.” She’s cute, but you don’t want to be on her bad side! And, we both love to rock a pink bow.
Ann’s collection will be debuting at D23 Expo 2022, and coming to shopDisney in September.
Star Wars Guided by the Light Collection by Ashley Eckstein
For all those “Force sensitive” beings out there, this next collection is for you! Some of the hats that Ashley Eckstein wears are actress, entrepreneur, designer, and author –but you may know her best as the originating voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars or founder and owner of fashion and lifestyle brand Her Universe. We were delighted to work with Ashley again on her collaboration with Disney, titled, “Guided by the Light” which is debuting at this year’s D23 Expo.
What inspired you to create this collection? When Disney reached out and asked me to create a Star Wars fashion collection influenced by Ahsoka Tano, I knew that this collection needed to inspire the wearer, just like Ahsoka inspires the fans. In so many ways, Ahsoka represents light –she inspires us to never give up hope, no matter how dark things seem. A lot has happened in our world since the last D23 Expo, and I like to refer to these wearable pieces of hope and reminders to be “Guided by the Light.” I worked with my good friend, Bret Iwan (the official voice of Mickey Mouse), on this collection and all the pieces have reflective accents or symbols of light. It’s my wish that all fans will feel Ahsoka’s strength and hope when they wear or carry this collection.
What’s your favorite Disney memory? Disney magic is just like the Force. It’s an energy that surrounds us and binds us, and I like to call Disney my love language. Growing up in Orlando, FL and having my dad as a Walt Disney World Resort cast member, I have too many Disney memories to choose just one! I grew up with Disney, and most of my fondest memories have to do with Disney. However, my favorite Disney moments are when I can create Disney magic for someone else, and that’s what I’m most excited about with this collection. It’s my hope that each and every fan who wears or carries something from my Guided by the Light collection will know and feel that the Force is strong with them. I want each fan to feel special, because they are special.
What does being “Guided by the Light” mean? The moment that inspired this collection is the scene at the end of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” where Rey reaches out to the past Jedi and they come to her with guidance. Ahsoka Tano is one of those Jedi, and it was one of the greatest honors of my life to have voiced Ahsoka for this scene. One of the lines that really stuck out to me in that scene was, “in the night, find the light.” I want fans to be inspired by this line as Rey was, and as I was. There’s so much significance with the reflective elements in this collection. At first glance, you might not even notice it’s there, but when you add a flash of light to each piece, the reflective elements light up and shine bright. This is meant to be a reminder that during dark times, we might not always see it, but there is always light.
Ashley’s collection will be live on September 9, 2022 at both D23 Expo 2022, and shopDisney.com
Frozen Artist Series Collection by Brittney Lee
Who could forget Anna’s fabulous dresses (and hairstyles) and Elsa’s iconic braid? Brittney designed them! Brittney Lee is a Visual Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios and has worked on films including “Wreck-It-Ralph”, “Moana”, and you guessed it –”Frozen” and “Frozen 2”! For D23 Expo 2022, Brittney designed a stunning doll collection, featuring our favorite sisterly duo –Anna and Elsa.
What inspired you to create this collection? I have a soft spot for fashion dolls, so when I was asked to design a version of Anna and Elsa in my style, it was an absolute dream come true! I was really hoping to invoke a vintage, handmade feel in these designs –from the face paint to the embroidery and tassel details. By combining Norwegian folk design with my own love for pattern and geometric shapes, I tried to celebrate the sisters’ individual personalities. Anna has playful, large-scale pom details and a really fun sculpted scallop skirt, while all of Elsa’s lines are long and elegant. Every detail was meant to evoke a classic, hand-painted doll, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out!
What’s your favorite Disney memory? This is really tough! For me, it has to be seeing “The Little Mermaid” for the first-time in the theater when I was six. I was completely transported! I fell head-over-heels in love with the film and Ariel, and it’s been a lifelong obsession ever since. I was in kindergarten at the time, and after I saw the movie, I politely requested that our kindergarten class have a “Mermaid Day” where we would paint mermaids and put on a play of the movie –my teacher agreed! It was a great day –everyday should be Mermaid Day!
Do you see yourself as more of an Anna or Elsa? I’m definitely more of an Elsa! I’m an older sister, and my sister and I have a dynamic that is pretty similar to Anna and Elsa. My sister is bright and bubbly where I can be more quiet and reserved. I love being with people, but I’m also introverted enough that I enjoy spending time alone in my studio. Cold does bother me, though, so I suppose we are different there! I much prefer summer months and warmer climates (like Olaf!).
Brittney’s collection will be debuting at D23 Expo 2022, and coming to shopDisney later this year.
Princess Tiana Collection by Color Me Courtney
Color Me Courtney is a vibrant fashion, lifestyle, and culture blog founded by creative director and influencer, Courtney Quinn. As the self-proclaimed “Queen of Color,” Courtney has collaborated with Disney to launch a colorful and fun collection themed to Disney Animation’s “The Princess and the Frog” – but you won’t have to kiss any frogs to get it!
What inspired you to create this collection? Tiana and “The Princess and the Frog” is a huge source of inspiration for me and so everything started there! Tiana’s drive, journey, and evolution have gotten me through so many of my own milestones so I made sure that some of those inspirational scenes and elements were incorporated into the collection. The designs were inspired by the characters, themes, setting, and original artwork of the film, but with my own Color Me aesthetic, style sense, and the needs of my online community in mind. We worked to design something magical and wearable forall the dream chasers out there! We dreamed up what Tiana would wear if she was studying in school, building her restaurant, for a date night with Naveen, or going to the Parks for a Mickey Bar and some beignets. Overall, the collection is designed to be very wearable for work or play, day or night, at the Parks and beyond.
What’s your favorite Disney memory? Aside from designing this collection (which is already among my all-time favorite moments) –there are so many memories I have. From attending D23 Expo for the first time, cruising aboard the inaugural Disney Wish sailing, visiting Walt Disney World Resort for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, to simply watching Disney, Disney Channel Original Movies, Pixar, and Marvel movies with friends –it’s impossible to choose just one! But, ultimately some of my favorite moments come from bonding and interacting with the Disney community and the joy it brings people –from other fans to the characters and Cast Members who make our experiences so magical.
What does Princess Tiana’s story mean to you? Growing up as a Disney fan, Princess Tiana and “The Princess and the Frog” marked a major moment in diversity and representation for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for so many others. What makes Tiana even more special, is that anyone who has ever chased their dreams and overcome adversity can identify with her story. She’s a dedicated entrepreneur, a loyal friend, a go-getter, a dream chaser and an all-around hard worker; those are all things I try to embody in my daily life. My hope is that every time someone wears a piece from the collection, they feel empowered, hopeful, joyous and colorful as they carry a little bit of that Tiana spirit with them!
Color Me Courtney’s collection will be live on September 9, 2022 at both D23 Expo 2022, and shopDisney.com
Which collection are you excited to see? Share your thoughts in the comments!