The anti-style icon has a new smart–casual get-up. Should Jeremy Scott have done it?
For Milan Fashion Week, Jeremy Scott's debut Moschino show channelled the spirit of the McDonald's brand with the subtle use of gold and reds. Scott also referenced the fast food chain pretty directly on the catwalk, with jumpers that featured the famed golden arches and a message underneath that read "OVER 20 BILLION SERVED".
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Ronald McDonald – burger creep, the guy that haunts kids' parties and ageless ad star – has a new suit. Designed by Ann Hould-Ward, twice nominated for Tony awards and eventual winner after designing the costumes for the Broadway adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, she described dreaming up Ron's new look as "one of the highlights of her career".
You can design Ronald McDonald a new suit all you like, but if you stick to the brief (which we imagine goes something like "gotta look like Ronald McDonald"), there's no way you aren't going to end up with that over–friendly, red and yellow clown you always tried to avoid eye contact with while you ate a quarter pounder.
According to David Zlotnik, McDonald's director of global marketing, they've been planning the overhaul for a while: "We've been working on his new clothes for probably close to two years," he told Ad Age.
So how does Ronald look in 2014? Truth be told, not all that different. Ronald's ditched the jumpsuit and now wears an embroidered red blazer with three pockets (described by McDonald's as "whimsical") and yellow cargo pants with four.
Seven pockets? Unless Ronald is going to be standing in fast food restaurants hustling crack, there seems little need for all those compartments. The combination of blazer and cargo pants seems like a far-fetched ambition to embrace a smart casual look, which is pretty difficult when you're a 51–year old clown. There's another outfit too (see above) for more laidback occasions when suiting up isn't necessary - a striped rugby shirt replaces the blazer, but the cargo pants stay. Simple.
No matter what you think of his new clothes, there's little doubt in our minds that Ronald's hair could really do with a revamp - it's unmistakably lost in the 70s, straight out of Top Of The Pops 2. Ronald could have done with a cheap and cheerful short–back–and–sides to contemporise his overall look. His completely impractical, giant, red shoes remain.
The makeover coincides with Ronald's rather late entry to social media, or as the clown himself puts it:"Selfies...here I come!" Responses on Twitter have been overwhelmingly negative.
Explain to me why Ronald McDonald decides to have a makeover now...when jumpsuits are back?! #FashionFail#RonaldMcDonald— Claudine Battisti (@ClaudB4177) April 25, 2014
McDonald's has made #RonaldMcDonald 100% scarier than before. He looks like I.T. meets Richard Branson pic.twitter.com/mCHxyP7e2r— Rob Walker (@bobbyjohnspeaks) April 24, 2014
So how have Ronald's looks evolved over the years? In 1963, Ronald made his TV network debut and was described as the "world's newest, silliest and hamburger-eatingest clown." He didn't look too great back then either. With a food tray on his head and a milkshake on his nose, he looked like a drunk dad down on his luck. Credit where credit's due, things have gotten better.
In the 70s Ronald dropped the tray hat and embraced flower power. The below advert shows him skipping through a colourful land with excited children, as a kind of Willy Wonka/Pied Piper–esque spiritual guru. Ronald's foray into psychedelia was actually pretty passable, not least because it was accompanied by a half-decent, trippy–by–numbers pop song. But seriously, though – what's with the enormous thighs?
Remember Richard Simmons? Us neither. Simmons was a media personality who hosted a fitness section on the television programme Real People. In a bid to shed McDonalds' reputation as being a chain that sold burgers full of fake meat that made people obese, Ronald started to look exactly like the celebrity fitness freak during the 80s.
In 1991, Ronald tried out a variety of hairstyles in an experimental trip to the hairdressers, before revealing himself to be a complete dullard by leaving the salon with exactly the same cut he went in with. He then feebly reassures himself that the "style really is him" and seeks backup from his guffawing mates – Hamburglar, Grimace et al. What a wasted opportunity.
Is Ronald doomed to be perpetually unfashionable or just an unlucky model let down by his designers? His most recent makeover is his first since 2005, and it's hard to ignore the fact that he's ditched the jumpsuit – a timelessly fashionable garment – for a look sported predominantly by fashion-nervous men. He just can't win. You'll be seeing plenty more of Ronald and his new look in 2014. He'll be hitting American TV later this year.
What's do you think of Ronald's new style?