With the release of the Live Action Barbie film in theaters on July 21st, everyone is going Barbiecore crazy. Mina Le, a video essayist released a video entitled ‘So we all obsessed with dolls right now’ indicating that fashion dolls play an essential role in fashion and reflect the trends of the times. Major fashion houses have recently collaborated with popular fashion dolls to represent their clothing. Barbie has collaborated with the likes of Calvin Klein to Vivienne Westwood. Bratz dolls have most notably collaborated with Cult Gaia and Mowalola. With the Barbie film coming out on top of this, it’s clearly fashion doll season.
This isn’t a new thing, however. Barbie has worn iconic looks for several decades now, starting from the 1960s with Mattel designers taking inspiration from French fashion houses Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior to create Barbies outfits. In 1985, Oscar de la Renta collaborated with Barbie, reflecting colorful 80’s fashion through flamboyant ball gowns. Barbie continues to work with luxury brands today, such as the Balmain collab featuring hot pink looks that pay homage to the doll’s signature color. Versace has released a Barbie inspired collection with Dua Lipa, garnering huge attention to the hyper-feminine clothing pieces with their designers.
For upcoming brands, a doll collaboration can be a way to inscribe their place within the fashion scene whilst also communicating to the masses what their brand stands for. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Barbie collab – the Bratz dolls also have a few fashion collaborations under their belt. A massive Bratz resurgence started in 2019, widely impacting the fashion and beauty landscape. Social media was flooded with Bratz inspired makeup and fashion looks. Cult Gaia and MowaLola, who have both collaborated with Bratz, have both mentioned that Bratz Fashion is something that has influenced their clothing style. The Mowalola Bratz Doll Felicia wears red leather co-ord pieces and thigh high black and yellow platform boots. This perfectly captures the edgy, cool, “do what you want” alternative vibe that the brand exudes with its runway shows.
Because fashion dolls are beloved by all ages, they are a perfect opportunity to market products. A Bratz fan for example, whether an OG fan from the start or a younger Bratz lover, might not have heard of Mowalola or Cult Gaia before their Bratz collabs.
When it comes to fashion, dolls work hand in hand with the industry to immortalize and personalize fashion brands and their image. It cannot be ignored however that there is a controversial history of dolls representing questionable and unrealistic beauty and body standards. It will be interesting to see how this is tackled, if at all, in the new Barbie movie. Will you be watching it on July 21st?
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