Francesca Gianesin sets the fashion trends for Disney

mickey mouse

We all love Disney and many of our memories are related to their films. But did you know that the Head of fashion consumer in Europe is an Italian woman? Francesca Romana Gianesin has great ambitions for Disney which she wishes to achieve with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust. One of the goals has already been achieved, and that’s expanding its offering in adult fashion.

How did your career develop in The Walt Disney Company and why did you move to London?

I have been working with Disney for 16 years. I was Vice President of consumer products retail in Italy. After a big European reorganisation, I was asked to move to London to manage the fashion segment for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA), thanks to my previous experiences in the fashion industry too. Italy is a strategic country in adult business for Disney. It has been a pioneer since 2004 when it came to an agreement with important fashion firms like D&G. Italy is a a crucial place for fashion. That’s why they put me, an Italian, in charge at the head of fashion in Europe.

What’s your background before the magic world of Disney?

When I was 18 I started working in the fashion industry, doing advertising campaign and catwalks. Then I worked as showgirl at RAI. After that, I worked in different fashion and food companies.


Francesca Romana Gianesin

Francesca Romana Gianesin

Disney has recently launched a clothing and homewear empire aimed at adults. What’s the relationship between Disney and fashion?

Let’s think about Mickey Mouse. He had a huge influence in pop culture. Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Freddy Mercury: here in my office I have photos of all of them wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Walt Disney has always been part of the world of the style. For our consumers, using a Disney garments means creating an emotional relationship with their favourite characters.

Disney is part of the culture thanks to the publishing industry as well. Marvel fans are great readers of Marvel comic strips. In Italy we grew a lot in the adult business thanks to Topolino’s (Mickey Mouse) readers. Films like Star Wars create a strong connection with our consumers too.

Disney also works well with trends like nostalgia: the first Cinderella film is still in women’s mind. This character inspired fashion designers like Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo who recreated their version of Cinderella’s shoes for the launch of the new film.

Recently Kenzo created a new collection aimed to millennials and inspired to the jungle for the launch of the new The Jungle Book.

How did you choose the fashion designers that worked at this project? Are there any Italians?

Authenticity is the key. There has to be a clear relationship between the Disney character and the fashion brand. We have been working with D&G for more than ten years. Valentino created a fabulous Snow White collection inspired by the red apple and a Spiderman collection for both man and woman. Fausto Puglisi created Captain America’s collection with a focus on woman empowerment.

What’s the main goal of this new project?

When I first took my new role in Disney, we did a lot of consumer research, especially on adult business. We found out that there was a huge demand for adult product from Disney. We listened to them and shared the projects. Before the coming of an Italian person at the head of the fashion segment in Europe, that was nearly three years ago, they used to do a couple of partnerships per year. This year we presented 50 partnerships among which there are several big names of the interior design such as Zaha Hadid, Terence Conran, Ingo Maurer. All of them wanted to make a tribute to Disney as he has been an important part of their childhood.

If you coul be a Disney character, who would you be?

Tinker Bell without any doubt! I wish I could have her fairy dust. She is fluffy and at the same time she solves any problem. I love the colour green and pompons, her relationship with nature and her nature inspired clothes.


D&GMarvelMichael JacksonMickey MouseValentinoWalt DisneyWhite Snow
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