The collector: Bob Manning, Lecturer in Fashion Design, UK.
The collection: Mickey Mouse ties.
Bob's collection of Mickey Mouse ties featured in our recent Obsessionistas at BIAD exhibition. As well as Disney ties he also has the most incredible collection of vintage Christmas decorations that we hope to get around to photographing some time. We caught up with Bob and asked him to tell us about his collection.
The story behind the collection...
My first ever Mickey Mouse tie was bought for me by my partner twenty one years ago. It features Mickey Mouse faces on a black background with scattered pink lipstick kisses. My collection is now at thirty five and still growing. I also have a Mickey Mouse brooch which I always wear. Mickey Mouse is my all time favourite Disney character. Walt Disney and his team of animators were a set of geniuses.
I wear a Mickey Mouse tie every time I wear a suit for a special occasion or fancy do. I don't have any other ties. Some of them were presents, some I have bought myself.
Most of them were bought from Disney shops in the UK. When these first opened they must have had a small team of unbelievably red hot designers who were picking up on fashion themes. The designs are very clever and witty. Some of the "Mickey meets Versace" ones look just like Versace and it's only when you look at them closely that you see that little Mickey Mouse. Those are the ones that I really love. I really believe Mickey Mouse and Gianni Versace could have created an amazing duo to equal Dolce & Gabbana!!!
Mickey meets Versace
I don't know of anyone else who collects them. I personally love them. Sometimes I wear a great big wacky in your face one and I know I'm going to get loads of people staring at it and laughing, but for certain occasions I might choose to wear a more subtle and sophisticated one.
They are a great ice breaker and that's probably one of the reasons why I like them. They break down barriers, because I think everybody loves Mickey Mouse. I wore one last night to the theatre to see 42nd street and I just passed a woman in the auditorium having a drink and she burst out laughing. Instantly I went over and she said "I just love your tie". It was one of the more in your face jobs. Even when people don't talk to me sometimes I just see them smiling. I've seen that dozens of times... you just pass somebody and they are probably a bit posh and they don't really want to say anything but they can't help but smile and that makes me laugh. Children love them too.
I think another of the reasons I love them is that they enable me to get away with wearing something quite cheeky without offending anybody. I can't take a suit seriously - there has to be something that breaks that down. You are wearing a suit, but you're also wearing a Mickey Mouse tie.... and you've got a Mickey Mouse brooch on so immediately nobody sees the suit. Mickey always gets an instant warm and happy reception and never fails to make people smile.
Images © Obsessionistas with the kind permission of Bob Manning.