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My Little Pony gets designer treatment for Luisa Via Roma auction

June 15, 2015

Luisa Via Roman My Little Pony Luisa Via Roman My Little Pony


Italian department store Luisa Via Roma is teaming up with toymaker Hasbro to give iconic 1980s toy My Little Pony a high-fashion makeover.

For the Make Kids Happy auction, coinciding with the retailer’s biannual Firenze4ever fashion event, My Little Pony figures decorated by labels including Fendi and Emilio Pucci will be sold on eBay from June 15 to raise money for Save the Children. Choosing a lighthearted basis for this campaign will likely appeal to consumers’ nostalgia and pique interest in the items up for bid.

"Hasbro is a global brand that has made a number of products and is known for placing creativity in the hands of millions of children," said Kimmie Smith, co-founder/creative director of Accessory2, New York. "It also has a lot of memories for those who are adults who enjoyed playing with items such as My Little Pony.

"My Little Pony is the epitome of whimsy, being unique and standing out," she said. "Many girls love choosing designs on their favorite pony and how it incorporated the image, the hair and of course the color of the horse.

"Having this auction on such a fashionable toy actually says a lot. It is one of the few toys that girls can play with that makes everyone feel the same as they are designed after horses as opposed to being smaller versions of humans. This allows girls to normalize their play and to simply enjoy the fantasy.

"In addition to the toy itself, it is a fashion statement and promotes diversity and idea generation when interacting with it. They have a huge user base and being able to partner with Luisa Via Roma in this fashionable way is a complete synergy that works well."

Ms. Smith is not affiliated with Luisa Via Roma, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Luisa Via Roma was unable to comment directly before press deadline.

Rainbow bright

The theme for the 11th Firenze4ever is “Over the Rainbow.” The event brings together brands, bloggers, media and fashion influencers in Florence, Italy, enabling them to share and collaborate on new projects.

In addition to a style lab for photo shoots and styling, Luisa Via Roma will host a “Rainbow Party” with chart-topping musical artists.

For Firenze4ever, Hasbro is the main partner, and the company’s My Little Pony features prominently in in-store displays and promotions for the event.

Luisa Via Roma MLP promo

Promotional image for Over the Rainbow

Taking the toy as inspiration, a number of designers have put their own spin on a giant My Little Pony, creating art pieces.

For instance, Kenzo’s creation wears a tiger hoodie in red, a reference to the popular street style fashion from the label. Other participants include Balmain, Delpozo, Rick Owens, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Manish Arora, Versace, Marni and Faith Connexion.

Kenzo My Little Pony Firenze4ever

Kenzo's My Little Pony for Make Kids Happy auction

My Little Pony was created in 1983, and more than 100 million of the toy horses have been sold since.

These figurines will be up for auction beginning June 15 on eBay. All proceeds will go toward Save the Children’s efforts to help youth affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal.

"Every effort that is being brought to support Nepal in their time of need is necessary, and seeing how brands have contributed beyond a week or month showcases the need for continued support," Ms. Smith said. "There will probably be more funds raised as they have taken a unique combination of nostalgia, designer, children and assistance to Nepal in order to gain momentum to this cause."

F4E Make Kids Happy

Luisa Via Roma has previously tapped designers for its Make Kids Happy initiatives, providing philanthropy through fashion.

Missoni participated in a charity auction organized by Italian retailer Luisa Via Roma to benefit underprivileged children in Brazil.

While many brands focused on the events on the field, others took a more philanthropic, humanitarian approach to their brand building efforts during the FIFA World Cup. This particular initiative extended to Italy as well, where Luisa Via Roma celebrated Brazilian culture with a themed edition of its bi-annual event in Florence, “Fierenze4ever” (see story).

Fashion for good
Luxury brands often come together for charity auctions, using their design skills to make a difference. These often center on children's charities.

Buccellati and Lanvin were among the designers that lent their creativity to the Tarbouche Project to raise funds and awareness for child abuse.

The initiative was the brainchild of artist Mouna Rebeiz, whose painting series “Le Tarbouche” was on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Ms. Rebeiz handpicked a number of designers to craft a fez in their own style to be auctioned live by Sotheby’s as well as online for Innocence in Danger, a charity that works to end violence against children (see story).

"There will be a lot of nostalgia for those that were fans of the toy when growing up as well as those that are fans of the brand that have contributed to this charity campaign," Ms. Smith said. "It will also bring those that may not have been familiar with the retailer but can see the depth of brands that they carry and their interest in making an impact in social fashion."

Final Take
Sarah Jones, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York