Painting the town pink: is Barbiecore the Dopamine Dressing we need?
It’s like I’m looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses as the release of the Barbie movie paints the town pink. Barbie nostalgia is reaching its apex as she is reborn as a contemporary feminist – and style – icon. Whilst the Barbie movie is a mainstream phenomenon, complete with over 100 brand collaborations, #barbiecore feels like a rebelliously positive, countercultural moment.
As consumer spending sinks, inflation remains at a high, and the earth edges ever closer to environmental collapse, the fashion world has followed with equally sombre tones: Indie Sleaze is purported to be having a come-back and quiet luxury has overtaken ostentatious logo-mania. Against this backdrop, the positively pink hues spank of truth-defying optimism. This new “Hope Punk” style might finally herald the delayed arrival of the “Dopamine Dressing” predicted for post-Covid. After all, Barbie has always encouraged us to “live our dreams.”
Is Barbiecore just a fad?
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling were first spotted rollerblading in costume back in April 2022, and #barbiecore has been trending ever since, sustained by numerous fast-fashion collabs and brand activations.
But by aligning with contemporary consumer sentiment, and a desire for hope and empowerment, it stands the chance of becoming more than just a superficial trend…IF Barbie is truly able to transition from controversial and outdated to a contemporary icon of inclusive empowerment.
A look through Barbie’s history will show you that the brand has always positioned itself as feminist, and Barbie as the ultimate #girlboss. Their 1985 “We Girls Can Do Anything” campaign, was the most glaring example of this, but Barbie’s different personas have always defied conventions – she has been cast as everything from presidential candidate to astronaut, years before humans first walked on the moon.
Barbie as the ultimate icon of “Lucky Girl Syndrome?”
With her ethos of “if you can dream it, you can be it” Barbie captures the essence of defiant childhood aspiration. For anyone who has been actively following TikTok trends, this has parallels with the recent wave of “#lucky girl syndrome” content. TikTok users have claimed that by repeating phrases like “I am so lucky,” “everything always works out for me,” or “I always get what I want” they have brought career, relationship and personal success into their lives – the ultimate enactment of Barbie’s empowering self-belief.
A contemporary subversion of Barbie stereotypes
People of all genders, body-types and ethnicities are buying into the hopeful #barbiecore trend, subverting Barbie’s traditionally ultra-feminine, unrealistically slim, white and wealthy image. This co-opting of a colour-palette, style and icon traditionally associated with femininity, has been labelled as Kencore – a Barbiecore spin-off focussed on gender neutrality and fluidity of fashion.
This contemporary, inclusive spin on Barbie’s style alongside its ethos of empowerment and hope at a time where that’s lacking, might take Barbie from trend to titan.
The Birth of Barbiecore
Drawing inspiration from the iconic Barbie doll and the carefree, dreamy aesthetic associated with her, Barbiecore encompasses elements such as bubblegum pink hues, retro-inspired silhouettes, whimsical prints, sequins, and a blend of feminine and edgy details.
Barbiecore in Contemporary Fashion Culture
Over the course of the past decade, Barbie has made its debut in all walks of contemporary culture, from its influence on fashion, to music singles like Barbie World, to a plethora of beauty offerings that have circulated the market worldwide.
Several fashion brands in particular have recognized the enduring popularity of Barbie and have collaborated with the iconic doll to create exclusive collections. These collaborations celebrate Barbie’s influence on style:
The Italian luxury brand Moschino partnered with Barbie in 2015, creating a limited edition capsule collection. The collaboration featured Barbie-inspired accessories, clothing, and even a life-sized version of the iconic pink Barbie Dream House.
Puma, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, collaborated with Barbie to create a sporty collection that combined nostalgia with contemporary design. The collection featured sneakers, athleisure wear, and accessories with playful Barbie-themed details.
Unique Vintage, a vintage-inspired clothing brand, joined forces with Barbie to create a line of retro-chic garments. The collection celebrated Barbie’s timeless style and included dresses, separates, and accessories inspired by different eras.
But brands and celebrities are not the only ones obsessing over the Barbie trend. With over 50.2 billion views, #Barbie is by far one of the most fun and successful social media trends to date. Millions of users are recreating iconic Barbie looks, embracing the bright, unapologetic and *brilliantly* saccharine style.
But what has truly propelled Barbie into the spotlight once again? None other than the highly-anticipated upcoming movie featuring the star power of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling!
Barbie The Movie 2023
Premiering on July 21st, this highly-anticipated film promises to portray the iconic doll’s journey in a new and empowering way. However, the excitement doesn’t end there, as the fashion collaborations featured in the movie are all people can talk about!
While we eagerly wait for the official release of the movie, Margot Robbie has already given us a little sneak preview from her recent presstour. Here are some brands that are speculated to be featured:
Margot Robbie kept up her vintage style streak, wearing a Moschino skirt suit from the brand’s spring/summer 2015 collection to the film’s press conference in Seoul. In true Barbie style, she kept her accessories perfectly matched, with a coordinating heart-shaped bag and pink Manolo Blahnik heels.
Known for its timeless elegance, Chanel is rumoured to have collaborated with the movie to bring a touch of sophistication and classic style to the Barbie universe.
Gucci might have been enlisted to infuse the movie’s fashion with a vibrant and eccentric aesthetic.
Margot Robbie’s ‘Totally Hair’ Barbie look, based on the 1992 doll was just that; the actress wore her hair in impressively long waves, with an Emilio Pucci printed dress, pink Manolo Blahnik heels, a Chanel bag and Taffin jewelry.
#Barbiecore encourages individuals to celebrate their inner child and embrace a hopeful and defiantly bold new take on femininity. Collaborations with fashion and beauty brands across all price-rages further amplify Barbie’s influence, making this a movement that is accessible to all.
So load up on dopamine and embrace your inner Barbie for a subversively optimistic sartorial approach.
On BLEND we are all about fashion that makes you, you. So if Barbie’s style isn’t your cup of tea, sign up here to join our writing list, to receive hyper-personalized fashion recommendations.