Pokémon turns 20 this year as we all know, and no time is being wasted when it comes to exploiting this landmark event. Nintendo has just released the games that started it all on the 3DS eShop, and long-time merchandising partner Tomy is planning a year of special promotions. Later in the year we'll have Pokémon Go coming to our smartphones, and then there's Pokémon Sun and Moon on 3DS to look forward to, an all-new entry in the series.

However, one of the most leftfield pieces of cross-marketing has to be the fact that Drew Barrymore is now Pokémon's fashion brand ambassador. Last weekend, she hosted a Pokémon Afternoon Soiree at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, and had this to say about her new role:

I like the fact that I've been around forever and Pokémon has been around forever. I think what they're doing with fashion is very current with what Moschino and Opening Ceremony and Rodarte are doing. There's a playfulness that we're now allowed to have in fashion again, for the first time in years. It's been very serious because it's been very critical, and that bummed me out!

As someone who has played on the red carpet my whole life, and the runway and whatever it is—let's get back to fun and expressiveness. I think that bloggers and magazines have had a lot to do with that. But we're just living in an era, or a moment, that's a little bit more back to fun. So I like that Pokémon is like, 'We're going into fashion!'

I really want to figure out how to translate their outfits into the world. And I'm a mom so I want kind of iconic children-oriented things. But I just like happy things. And Pokémon is happy. It's not associated with anything but joy, and I'm in the joy business. I don't want things that are dark and angry. I like things that are colorful and happy.

While the pairing of Barrymore and Pokémon might not make immediate sense to hardcore gamers, it shows just how far the series has entrenched itself in popular culture - and a fashion alliance with a figure such as Barrymore should ensure even more mainstream fame for Pikachu and company.

[source thedailybeast.com, via dailymail.co.uk]