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Top fashion designers dress up Snoopy & Belle in an exhibit at the Mall at UTC.
East County Wednesday, Apr. 19, 2017 7 months ago

Fashion for Peanuts at Sarasota's Mall at UTC

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Mall at UTC hosts 'Snoopy & Belle in Fashion' tour.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Hungry for fashion?

Try some Peanuts.

Actually, it's the "Snoopy & Belle in Fashion" exhibit which began on April 19 and runs through May 13 run at the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota.

Peanuts Worldwide has brought the international fashion exhibit to Sarasota as part of a United States tour.

"It's hard to find someone who doesn't relate to Peanuts," said exhibit producer Melissa Menta, who has worked for Peanuts Worldwide for 16 years and has overseen the current exhibit since it was recreated in 2014. "What's interesting is the exhibit resonates differently to different people.

"The goal is to allow everyone to enjoy them."

The original "Snoopy in Fashion" exhibit debuted at The Louvre in 1984. It made its way around the world to some of the most prestigious museums, such as Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and the Seibu Art Forum in Tokyo.

It was started by Determined Productions' Connie Boucher. Boucher's company had produced the first Snoopy plush (stuffed) animal in 1968 and the public started to ask for Snoopy clothes, kind of like dressing "Barbie." Snoopy's sister, Belle, was soon added.

In the 1980s, Boucher began to ask famous designers to dress Snoopy and Belle. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was shocked to find his characters were going to be international fashion models.

The exhibit was recreated in 2014 with all new dolls and designs. It has been all over the world to places like Mexico City, Berlin, Stockholm, Tokyo, Paris and Milan, and now has begun a six-city tour of malls in the U.S.

"As we tour, we have added new dolls," Menta said. "Before 2014, the exhibit was smaller and leaner. It's twice the size now, up to 60 sets of dolls."

The dolls stand 10 inches high.

New for the exhibit's appearance in Sarasota is the OP (Ocean Pacific) brand design. The new dolls are "a nod to the beach-loving lifestyle of Sarasota."

When patrons enter the mall, they can use a Snoopy & Belle in Fashion free app to guide them to Peanuts merchandise along with the fashion brands featured in the exhibit. 

The exhibit, which will be located at the Grand Court in the mall, also includes 12 sets of dolls featured in the original "Snoopy In Fashion" tour with designs by Gianni Versace, Gucci, Chanel, Giorgio Armani and other famous designers.

Designers Betsey Johnson and Diane von Furstenberg had their creations modeled in the original tour and now have designed new Snoopy and Belle wardrobe for the current tour. Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood designed an outfit for Snoopy made from cloth of the coat worn by Johnny Depp during his role as the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland." Belle was dressed in a kimono inspired by the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha." Atwood won Oscars for both films.

Although the dolls were never covered when displayed in museums, they will be behind Plexiglass during its 2017 mall tour.

After concluding its run May 13 in Sarasota, the tour heads to Nashville, Tenn. It concludes its U.S. tour in New York.

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