Once upon a time, I was a little girl and I loved Disney. My toy-box wasn’t filled with blonde, blue-eyed Barbies, it was a museum of Disney cartoons in Mattel® form: Ariel, Jasmine, Belle.
I watched the movies, read the storybooks, wore the t-shirts, had the matching curtains and comforter for my bedroom (it was 1989, they were Little Mermaid). I lived in a replicated fantasy that Disney had created for me.
Then I grew up. I realized Ariel was swimming around in a seashell bra and had an alarmingly tiny waist. I watched as the Disney Princesses needed a Prince to come to their rescue. I saw the branding and merchandising take over with “princess culture” and felt puzzled, maybe even duped. Did Disney care about creating fantasies for me or did they just want me to buy the matching toothbrush to go along with my pajamas?
As an adult, I admit that sometimes when I’m having a bad day instead of reaching for that carton of Ben and Jerry’s I’ll pull out my VHS of Sleeping Beauty, if only to appreciate the years the Disney artists spent researching and drawing the highly stylized and Renissance-like animation. Or, I’ll watch Aladdin again and sing-along with “A Whole New World” just to make myself feel better.
Last week, when I received an email from Sephora, my eyes cartoon-popped out of their sockets when I saw this:
Reigning Beauties is a series of limited-edition beauty collections steeped in fantasy, featuring Disney’s most iconic and popular Princesses re-imagined by Disney artists and Sephora.
Crafted from pure imagination with completely exclusive designs that reference each Princess’ signature moments, icons and colors. Their stories have been reinterpreted with sophistication for the modern Princess of today.
Was Disney giving me the fantasy after all? Were they extending the dream a little further so that as an adult I could still tap into the bliss of believing in fiction? Or, has Sephora capitalized on Disney’s ability to hook you as a child, keeping a fantasy that should have faded barbed in your psyche into your teens and twenties, or beyond.
My “prince” doesn’t slay the dragons I fight at work, or do my taxes for me, and we don’t live in anything that could be compared to a castle. Can the fantasies that were acceptable to me as an eight-year-old still be relevant when I’m twenty-eight?
I recognize that Disney and Sephora want my money, but I can’t help thinking that the campaign is a little creative too. Who wants to buy brand X of makeup when they can buy a brand that is guaranteeing you will stand out at the ball? Sephora even goes as far to connect fiction to reality in their Cinderella Collection “With luxe 19th century detailing reminiscent of her South of France roots”and they continue an appreciation for the artistry of the film with “…a color palette that brings the actual pantones from the classic film to shadows and lip stick shades.” They even have a Swarovski edition of a perfume called “So This is Love.”
I don’t know if Disney’s and Sephora’s clever marketing will entice me to try their lipstick or sample “So This is Love.” Then again, maybe they haven’t hit me at my little-girl core yet, or found the way to make the fantasy pay-off now that I’m grown. Maybe I’m not a Cinderella girl. If they come out with a Sleeping Beauty Collection, that might be a different story.