It had been years since I’d seen Oliver & Company. With a memory blurred by countless Disney movies, I could really only recall one scene, or rather, a pair of shoes from a scene. Early in the film, Oliver—the film’s eponymous kitten—swerves to avoid getting trampled by a crowd of pedestrians, from which emerge a pair of red, high-top sneakers and legs donning sky-blue sweat pants.
Rightfully inspired by this image and hopeful that the movie would feature more fashion gems, I mined through our archives and whipped out this 1988 classic. Boy, did it deliver.
From mullets to shoulder pads—blue eye shadow to neon everything—the fashion is popping. Let’s take a look:
When I think ‘80s, I think hair. Big hair. And no one achieved this decade’s volume better than Georgette, the spoiled poodle anti-heroine of the film. Pictured here ditching her sponge curlers in front of her vanity, Georgette embodies the era’s glam, inside and out. If I could look half as cool as she does shaking them off, I’d be pretty tempted to try this look myself.
Georgette may own the big hair game, but Rita—the toughest (and only) female member of Dodger’s gang—radiates ‘80s style with what looks like a mullet-shaped cut. I didn’t know dogs could have mullets, much less that they could look kind of cool. Oliver & Company proved me wrong on both accounts.
If we’re talking hair, we have to talk accessories—yet another field in which the rule of excessive size dominates. The coquettish lady pups on the far left rock oversized bows, in bright colors telling of the decade, while Jenny Foxworth, Oliver’s adoptive parent, pulls her hair up into a half-ponytail with that late ‘80s trademark—the scrunchie. Similarly, could Tito’s sweatband exist in any other era? Serving to hold back Tito’s shock of orange hair, this accessory looks fresh and functional.
Did you think I was done talking about shoes? Sorry, guys. With a story told from a kitten’s point of view, we’re never done talking about shoes. The ’80s footwear in Oliver & Company looms larger than life, my favorite being this preppy trademark-turned-contemporary-favorite, the Sperry Topsider. Look at the detail on that painting; I’m pretty sure an artist at Disney was as into this style of shoe as I am.
Honorable mention goes to this cute pair of pastel blue kitty heels—positioned dangerously close to a sewer grate, I might add. If I’m learning anything from this ‘80s fashion choice, it’s “no risk, no reward.”
Speaking of risks, an almost-car accident in the film gave us a rare look at a non-feline redhead, whose style epitomizes ‘80s fashion. The shoulder pads alone have her hitting the decade’s fashion bullseye, but those earrings, both geometrically shaped and magenta, take it to the next level.
Another glimpse at the movie’s human characters brings us a Disney Style favorite—a Mickey watch! I’m not saying any of us should buy watches off grifters, but if anything would tempt me, it’d be that timepiece.
Last, but certainly not least, I bring you Ray Ban Wayfarers, also known as the ‘80s marker for the hippest person in the room; seen here glinting in the sunlight after Dodger (the leader of the ‘company’ from Oliver & Company) knocks over a cart of sunglasses, I can’t imagine anything more beautiful.
Also check out those sporty shield shades! And cat eyes! And tea-shades! Have you ever seen a better encapsulation of ‘80s eyewear?
While I’m positive Dodger’s nonchalantly cocked eyebrow achieves 99% of his “cool guy” persona, the sunglasses complete the look. Who knows what era that avant-garde sausage scarf is from, but I love it no less.
Suffice to say, this movie is a fashion time machine, and whether you’re watching it for the Billy Joel tunes, or those classic, red high-tops, it’s totally worth the trip.