death – Obituary News : Renowned Costume Designer Alice Davis Passes Away at 93
Alice Davis, a highly acclaimed costume designer, sadly passed away on November 4, 2022, at the age of 93. Known for her work with Walt Disney’s films, television shows, and theme parks, Davis had a significant impact on the world of costume design. The Walt Disney Family Museum paid tribute to her on Twitter, expressing their deep regret and acknowledging her as a Disney Legend.
Born on March 26, 1929, Alice Estes Davis received a scholarship from the Long Beach Art Association to attend the Chouinard Art Institute. Originally intending to study animation, she found herself in the costume design program due to a two-year waiting list. However, this twist of fate proved to be a blessing in disguise.
After completing her studies and receiving her diploma, Davis began her career designing women’s underwear for the prestigious Beverly Vogue & Lingerie House in Los Angeles. She also created two successful lingerie brands and gained recognition for her exceptional pattern-making skills and expertise in working with exotic textiles.
It was during a night animation class taught by Marc Davis, her future husband, that their paths crossed. In the mid-1950s, Marc reached out to Alice for assistance in creating a costume for Helene Stanley’s live-action portrayal of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Their collaboration on this project not only led to a successful costume design but also blossomed into a close personal relationship. The couple tied the knot in June 1956.
Alice’s talent caught the attention of Walt Disney himself when he spotted the couple at a café in Los Angeles. Impressed by her work, Disney offered her a position as a costume designer for the 1960 drama film Toby Tyler. This marked the beginning of Davis’s long and fruitful association with the Disney company.
One of Alice Davis’s most significant contributions was her involvement in the creation of costumes for the Audio-Animatronic children in Disney’s iconic attraction “it’s a small world” at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair. Davis established a specialized costume production area, implemented a quality control system, and developed refurbishment processes at WED Enterprises, which were later utilized by Imagineers and maintenance workers at Disney theme parks. She also designed costumes for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the redesigned Flight to the Moon ride.
Although Davis left WED in 1978, she continued to provide advice to The Walt Disney Company on various projects. She remained an active participant in Disney-related events and cherished the opportunity to meet and engage with fans. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Davis was honored with the Disneyana Fan Club Disney Legend award in 1997 and was admitted as a legend at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, in 2004. Additionally, in May 2012, she received the distinguished honor of having a window dedicated to her at Disneyland, located next to her late husband’s window. In 2014, she was also presented with the June Foray Award.
Following her passing, Twitter users took to the platform to pay homage to the late costume designer. Many expressed their sadness and acknowledged Davis’s incredible talent and contributions to Disney’s iconic attractions such as “it’s a small world” and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Alice Davis is survived by her family members, having been preceded in death by her husband, Marc Davis, who passed away in 2000.
The world of costume design has lost a true pioneer and visionary in Alice Davis. Her legacy will continue to inspire and influence generations of artists and designers in the years to come..