Hey Buzz Readers! We recently sat down with one of Disney Store’s principal designers, Steven Thompson, to get the inside scoop behind one of the most anticipated collections of the summer, the Disney Villains Designer Collection! Steve shared some wickedly exciting design details with us during our Q&A and we just could not wait to share the villainous insider info with all our readers!
The Buzz: We hear you’re the principal artist behind the original Disney Villains Designer Collection artwork and also worked on the doll development. How long did the entire process take?
Steve: From the sketches to production of the actual dolls, it took about 18 months time. This is actually the typical time frame it takes for us to create a new doll or toy collection. Once I completed the designs I worked with fellow designer, Sang Plumlee, and we worked together to make the sketches come to life in doll form.
The Buzz: Wow! Is that similar to the process you went through with the Disney Princess Designer Dolls? What makes the Villains’ design aesthetic different from the Princesses’?
Steve: The process is similar, but the inspiration I drew from for each of the collections is totally different. The Disney Villains Designer Collection designs are definitely inspired by modern fashion, more so than the Disney Princesses. With the Disney Princess Designer Collection, each of the dolls are inspired by retro fashion illustrations. With the Villains, I drew inspiration from modern art, architecture, theatrical stage costumes, pop culture and of course, from the Villain’s original Disney films.
With the Villains, the designs I created are less of a literal translation of the original characters and more inspired by the Disney Villains. I consider my interpretation of the Disney Villains dolls in this collection, as fashion sketches come to life. I used everything from runway looks in magazines, to couture gowns on pop stars to find inspiration for each of the Villains artwork.
"I consider my interpretation of the Disney Villains dolls in this collection as fashion sketches come to life"
- Steve Thompson, on the Disney Villains Designer Collection dolls
The Buzz: We noticed the Disney Villains Designer Collection Dolls have beautifully detailed hair and make-up designs, what inspired these glamorous makeovers?
Steve: I used a lot of different lifestyle photography and art as inspiration for the Villains’ hair and make-up. My goal was to make the Villains more fashionable, more glamorous than anyone has ever seen them before. As I flipped through fashion photos and look books, I found that some contemporary fashion statements reflect the Villains’ characters original looks! This really goes back to the characters from Disney films, because Disney Villains have always been ahead of their time when it comes to fashion, this is why this designer interpretation of the Villains makes so much sense to us. The Disney Villains Designer Collection truly makes a logical counterpart to the Disney Princess Designer Collection.
The Buzz: We couldn’t help but notice, the dolls are so couture-inspired! Their dresses and accessories are beautifully embellished, with careful attention to every small detail. Can you speak to how the sketches inspired the fabrication of the dolls’ apparel and accessories?
Steve: If you look at the artwork, you can see how regal the Villains look. In the films, some of the Villains are real Queens. The royalty factor behind the Villains is what inspired the doll team to give each doll luxurious fabrics in their dresses with lavishly intricate beading and embroidery on their accessories. Many of the sketches’ design aesthetics were inspired by the design concept behind the original film the Villain character is from. For example, I created Maleficent with clean, angular lines, because that style is reminiscent of the film artistry. When I designed Maleficent, I also kept in mind that her character turns into a Dragon in the film. This is why her dress is structured with leatherette fabrication, to imply the sense of leathery, lizard skin, like a dragon might have.
The Buzz: Thank you so much, Steven, for an inside peek into a designer’s point of view behind the Disney Villains Designer Collection! It sounds like the time and effort put into this line is what makes it so special and unique. We can't wait to get our hands on one of the dolls!
There you have it, Buzz Readers, a real insider’s perspective into this exciting new collection. And if you have any other questions you’d like answered by Steven himself, tweet them to @DisneyStore with the hashtag #DVDC!
Be sure to stop by DisneyStore.com this Monday, August 20th, for the launch of the Disney Villains Designer Collection, and take advantage of your opportunity to pre-order the Disney Villains Designer dolls! Who’s your favorite Villain in the Collection? We personally LOVE the Queen of Hearts!