The highly anticipated Barbie live-action film, set to release July 21, 2023, has prompted a frenzy of A-listers and brands to embrace all things Barbiecore. Margot Robbie’s Barbie revisits the allure of the Barbie aesthetic with refreshed zeal and energetic appeal and pink is in high demand.
The film, narrated by Helen Mirren, starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her platinum-blonde boyfriend Ken, is set to take moviegoers on an unexpected journey into Barbie’s perfect toy world with a star-studded cast of Barbies and Kens living life in plastic that will undoubtedly be fantastic.
When it comes to trends, one may wonder why the film’s love for all things hot pink has taken off amongst Generation Z. According to NYC-based fashion stylist Shea Daspin, Barbiecore has become so much more than bodycon dresses, high heels, and shades of baby pink.
“It’s easy to associate her with material objects and the color pink, but I think she represents a lot more,” she says. “She represents ambition and female agency, and that can manifest in how someone dresses or whom they decide they want to become.”
With that in mind, let’s delve into the roots of Barbiecore and uncover 2023’s hottest Barbie-inspired trends.
What is Barbiecore?
Barbiecore, the latest “core” aesthetic, is back! As the noughties (a.k.a. 2000 to 2009) style inspiration, Barbie dominated the fashion scene, inspiring a wave of pink pleather and knee-high baby pink boots.
Perhaps you can recall Tyra Banks’ doll-inspired aesthetic in the 2000 Disney film Lifesize? Or how about the iconic Reese Witherspoon’s take on Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, thriving in the role of a Barbie girl in a corporate world?
Barbie-inspired clothing has dominated our screens since the late 90s. Barbiecore’s hyper-feminine, pretty-in-pink aesthetic pioneered by Mattel’s ultimate “It girl” Barbie has long been a trend-setting and risk-taking plastic trailblazer since her arrival in 1950. Along the way, Barbie has also triggered numerous debates on body positivity, bold colors, and style connotation – while repeatedly driving the color pink into the limelight.
But is Barbiecore still relevant today?
American country music singer Kacey Musgraves first brought back Barbiecore nostalgia with her 2019 Met Gala look – sporting a pink floor-length motorcycle-inspired Moschino dress. Musgraves was dressed as the exact doll designed by Jeremy Scott and sold in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s gift shop as a part of its tongue-in-cheek “Camp Collection,” created in honor of a new Costume Institute exhibit.
Fast forward to today, and Barbiecore is back… on the heels of a highly anticipated live-action film as Margot Robbie takes Barbie out of the toy box and into the real world (earning instant style icon status).
Consumers and Brands Alike Are Embracing Barbicore
The Barbie teaser trailer and the unveiling of 24 character posters brought Barbie’s world back to life. And for fans who want to take a step into Barbie’s world and see themselves in the poster, an official Barbie Selfie Generator was made available on desktop and mobile.
Barbiecore is ever-evolving according to Kim Culmone, the SVP and Global Head of Design for Barbie and Fashion Dolls at Mattel Inc.
“Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today’s trends and culture,” she says. For 2023, as we head back to the office and regain our social lives, it’s Barbie’s authentic playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to inject into their daily routines.”
With that in mind, how can you embrace your inner Barbiecore in 2023?
This one goes without saying. If you want to embrace a Barbie-inspired style this summer, it’s time to let go of those neutrals and inject some pink into your wardrobe (and possibly your brand).
“For Barbie, pink represents limitless potential and is a symbol of female empowerment, which is such a perfect fit with the brand’s purpose,” says Culmone. Some of the key A-Listers channeling pink range from Kim Kardashian to Simone Ashley and Sebastian Stan.
In fact, the Italian luxury fashion house Valentino embraced Barbiecore for their autumn/winter 22’ line, releasing an entire collection in hot pink in a past collaboration with Pantone.
According to fashion e-commerce aggregator Lyst’s report on the most impactful fashion moments of 2022, Valentino’s pink runway moment saw searches for pink increase by 152%.
Revisit 90’s neon
It’s also time to bring back that iconic 90s neon. If you look at the stills from the upcoming Barbie movie, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling can be seen dressed head to toe in neon active wear, highlighter sweatbands, and 90’s inspired leg warmers.
The key here is to add your own neon accents to your favorite Barbie-inspired outfits. The more color, the better when it comes to Barbiecore.
Throw on a pair of heart-shaped sunnies
If you’re looking for a new pair of shades this year, why not block out the sun in style with a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses? Barbie is known for all things girly, so a pair of retro style, oversized shades in a playful shape will do the trick. Just make sure these funky frames come in a popping shade of pink, and you’re good to go.
Embrace body positivity
Last but certainly not least, one of the biggest trends the resurgence of Barbiecore has inspired is body positivity. As A-Listers of all shapes, sizes, and abilities embrace hot pink this season, it could be time to forget about the stereotypical ‘Barbie look’ and use the trend to wear pink in a way that makes you feel powerful.
Take Lizzo, for example. Spotted head to toe in Valentino pink for her Lizzo’s Big Grrrls screening, the singer/songwriter took Barbiecore and made it her own. “For so long, designers kept it limited to only certain body types to represent us only certain types of people,” says Gianluca Russo, author of The Power of Plus. “To see someone like Lizzo now wear Valentino and to be a part of this trend at this moment. She feels like she opened this door for us to be included. It’s always an exciting moment when you see someone who lives in a larger body partake in the hottest trend in fashion.”
As we step into summer 2023, the question is, how will you embrace Barbiecore?
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