As the imaginative environs of Euro Disney begin to dot the French landscape, behind the scenes another creative team is busy producing the costumes that will make the people of the Park every bit as “themed” as their new surroundings.
“As soon as the project had been defined,” explains Bob Phelps, Vice President of Costume for Walt Disney Attractions, “and we had a feel for the look of it, we started thinking of the costumes.”
Since there are three existing Magic Kingdoms with attractions and “lands” very similar to those in Euro Disneyland, it might seem that not too much needed to be done in the way of costume design. Not so. After all, this is France, renowned for fashion. This is Europe, with a history that extends beyond the origins of the Fantasyland tales. And this is Disney, where ideas are neverending and perfection is always just one Park away.
“We knew from the start that these costumes would be different,” Phelps says. “As I’ve learned over the years—and four Parks—we never do anything the same.”
“This is a beautiful Park,” says Tom Jacobson, Director of Costume for Euro Disney, “and it needs the costumes to support it.”
Jacobson, a 20-plus-year veteran of Disneyland who was also involved in costuming Tokyo Disneyland, joined Phelps in preparing for Euro Disney’s debut more than three years ago.
“We started with business trips to Europe to source fabrics and manufacturers,” explains Phelps. “We visited mills in Germany, Austria, England, Brittany, Italy, and of course, all over France.”
“We managed to find 50 major fabric mills throughout Europe to supply us with fabrics for both operational and entertainment costumes,” adds. “Then, garment manufacturers already supporting the Parisian fashion industry were contracted to produce costumes for us.”
But first, they had to designed.