From a distance, they look like the silhouettes of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.But up close, the designs begin to reveal their unexpected brilliance.This collection by art director Yuni Yoshida is a dreamworld that weaves together bold ideas and precise calculation.
“Shapes that are instantly recognizable to anyone around the world hold great power. I tried to take advantage of Mickey Mouse’s defining features to create versions of the character unlike anything seen before.” That’s how Yuni Yoshida describes her designs for the UT summer collection, which offer a novel way to look at the familiar forms of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. She shapes their silhouettes with ladders and poodles and recreates Minnie’s bow from two women in skirts. Yoshida likes including elements that represent life—such as fruit, plants, animals and people—and this choice breathes new life into the forms of Mickey and Minnie. The designs will catch you off guard, but also make you curious about what lies beneath.
I thought about all the different things you can conjure from the image of a bow, and eventually hit upon the idea of skirts. I had the two models sit back-to-back and spread out their skirts to look like two halves of a bow, and then I shot them from directly above. The skirt was designed to be gathered up in the middle, making the hem flare out to the sides. The wigs worn by the models became the knot of the bow. It was important to me that their legs were just slightly visible.”
“I used two models and a variety of objects to shape Mickey's silhouette. Ladders, cushions, books, bags, and even dogs are hidden around the two models. I decided on most of the items in advance. At the shoot, I projected my sketches, then arranged each object one at a time to match the designs. I wanted to make it look natural, as though two girls just happened to create these silhouettes while hanging out, so I arranged white clocks and candles around them to give the impression of a room.”
“This piece came from my desire to use parted hair to evoke an image. I parted the model’s hair to create the outline of Minnie’s face and then rolled some of the hair into buns for the ears and nose. I chose the camera angle before styling the hair—even a small change in angle would have produced a different result. For the bow, which I made myself, I focused on producing a noticeable physicality.” Unfortunately, this image did not make it onto our T-shirts—but it looks impressive!
“I thought that foamy bubbles would be a good medium for recreating Mickey's gloves. I used cotton as a base layer to prevent slippage, added the actual bubbles, and then broke up some areas to make it look more foam-like. I also created the three lines on the back of Mickey's gloves by removing bubbles.”
Yuni Yoshida | Yoshida was born in Tokyo in 1980. After graduating from Joshibi University of Art and Design, Yoshida worked with Ohnuki Design and Uchu Country before establishing her own office in 2007. Her diverse portfolio includes ads and ad campaigns, videos, book covers, album covers for artists such as Gen Hoshino and Kaela Kimura, and visuals for Naomi Watanabe's solo exhibition.