Who, What, Why | The Enduring Appeal of Mr Men & Little Miss
— December 5, 2012 —
A step by step guide to highlights across fashion, art and culture
Little Miss Rei Kawakubo, 2012 Who? In 1971, illustrator Roger Hargreaves created a drawing of a "Mr Tickle" to demonstrate the meaning of tickling to his son Adam – a round, orange figure with long. bendy arms. The first Mr Men character was born. Over 40 years later, the Mr Men and Little Miss family, now with more than 90 characters, are cherished across the world, by all ages. After Hargreaves's death in 1988, his son Adam Hargreaves began writing and illustrating new stories, including four characters that his father had developed before his death.
What? The characters' appeal lies in their simplicity. Straightforward, thick-outlined, colourful illustrations, their personalities and physical attributes based on their names. Mr Grumpy, Little Miss Sunshine, Mr Greedy, Little Miss Chatterbox. Clever, as one can think of a person who is like each one of them. The storybooks come in a satisfylingly small size, and at an affordable price.
"The characters' appeal lies in their simplicity. Straightforward, thick-outlined, colourful illustrations, their personalities and physical attributes based on their names"
Why? The genius of Hargeaves' designs have meant that they have since been adopted by the fashion industry, both officially and unnofficially. In October 2006, Adam Hargreaves created the first Little Miss character based on a real person, Stella McCartney, which he named Little Miss Stella. This was published as a limited edition of 1,000 copies for use as invitations for her S/S07 show and was later used for a capsule childrenswear collection. This year has seen two unofficial fashion interpretations – Mr Yohji and Little Miss Rei Kawakubo. Rendered in monochrome, both make use of each designer's trademark characteristics – a goaty beard and a blunt fringed bob, respectively.
This month, French store Colette will be hosting a special Mr Men and Little Miss collaboration. A selection of unique illustrations in black, white and blue will adorn T-shirts, iPhone cases, skateboards and pinbadges.
Today, head to Colette between 4-5pm to meet the character Little Miss Sunshine, and the author’s grandson, Adam Hargreaves, who will be signing his cult books.
Text by Laura Bradley