They called it the Summer of Barbie.
Nobody could fail to notice the 12-inch fashion doll when she transformed into a 50-foot woman on cinema screens around the world. But just to make sure, Mattel and Warner Bros. partnered with countless pop culture brands to put a splash of pink into everything from frozen yogurt to a Dreamhouse-shaped Xbox.
And burgers. And skates. And baby clothes. And four-thousand-dollar couches. And candles, and toothbrushes…
But while there were plenty of collabs with high street fashion brands, there was a distinct lack of luxury label crossovers.
Barbie is, after all, a fashion doll — continuing a tradition that stretches back to Renaissance France, when diplomats would return to royal European courts with the finest in foreign fashion made in miniature to keep kings up with the trends. She even has her own line of poseable Barbie Fashionistas, noted both for their seasonal updates and their diversity. So, where’s our Prada Barbie?
Right here! TheToyZone hereby appoints itself Barbie Ambassador to the great empires of High Fashion: Chanel, McQueen, Vuitton and more. Our design team collaborated with the latest AI technology to reveal how Barbie Fashionista dolls might look if styled by real haute couture brands.
Barbie x Chanel
Barbie actress Margot Robbie is a Chanel brand ambassador, and their collab on the Barbie movie was inevitable (and lucrative).
“[I]f Margot wears anything that we didn’t make, it’s pretty much Chanel,” explains the movie’s costume designer, Jacqueline Durran. “They’re very interested in supporting cinema and in helping us find looks that will work in the story. They sent us anything and everything that we wanted.”
The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, wanted an ‘80s feel to the costumes, to match the dolls she had as a child. Chanel delivered, and so have we — in miniature: shoulder pads that’d make a set square blush, a popped collar, and a pencil skirt that means business.
Barbie x Burberry
The Barbie x Burberry crossover has already happened in real life, but sadly, it happened in court.
“Pink and beige handbags at dawn!” screamed the headlines when Burberry tried to trademark the letter sequence BRBY, much to Mattel’s annoyance. BRBY clearly sounds like Barbie; as Creative Bloq suggests, it would make more sense for the British brand to just go with BRBRRY, which actually sounds like Burberry.
Meanwhile, TheToyZone proposes the two brands meet each other halfway down the catwalk by collaborating on some spicy, if timeless and respectable, pink check. While our BRBY x BRBRRY raincoat is made for business, our itsy wrap dress is clearly for pleasure, making this the ideal combo for the party Barbie who loves to arrive in style.
Barbie x Alexander McQueen
“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”
Who said it — Barbie Movie Barbie or Alexander McQueen*? They’re both icons with one foot in the past and one firmly in the future, as our tentacular spectacular below demonstrates.
Our Barbie x McQueen collab proposes a seapunk queen from a frosty sci-fi future, constructed from silk and biodegradable algae-based plastics. Highly structured yet defying gravity, this Barbie Fashionista will usher any young feminist into their H.R. Giger phase. It’s just a shame she left her pink clutch in the dressing room.
(*Yes, it was McQueen who said the thing.)
Barbie x Louis Vuitton
We’re not the first to dream of a Barbie x Vuitton collab. Pop star Nicki “Harajuku Barbie” Minaj has long been associated with the doll — she even got her own one-of-a-kind “Minajesty” Barbie in 2011 — and when she donned a pink frock from Vuitton‘s fall ‘21 Vuttamins collection, she made sure to give it a Fashionista twist.
Our take on Barbie x Vuitton is more practical. Barbie travels in style in a puffy faux-fur collared field jacket in pink with gold epaulets. Underneath: a smoke-blue monogram blouse and pink stretch leather pants. Mais oui!
Barbie x Tommy Hilfiger
Barbie and Tommy have already met, by way of Spring 2017’s Gigi [Hadid] x Tommy collection. Mattel cooked up a Gigi-looking doll, Hilfiger dressed her, and she met for a photo op with Barbie in — uh — Tommyland. But our girl was the supporting player on that occasion, hanging back to take snaps of Gigi in a Mondrian-esque two-piece.
Now, we’ve given Barbie her own shot at fusing “East Coast classics with a laidback, West Coast twist” — with an emphasis on the coast. While she’s not quite ready for her coastal grandmother moment, Barbie is ready to set sail in yacht shorts, a classic striped polo in Hilfiger colors, and a ‘boyfriend’-sized reefer jacket. The boyfriend won’t need it, after all — his job is just beach.
Barbie x Prada
Margot Robbie experimented with pink Prada on the Barbie promo trail. Her Prada two-piece echoed the pink gingham of an A-line dress she wore in the movie. However, in real life, she mix-and-matched Prada with a Chanel ankle bracelet, Christian Louboutin heels and Jessica McCormack earrings, instantly disqualifying her from being called “Prada Barbie.” So, we fixed it.
Minimalist but never ungenerous, Prada’s flowing lines are a lesson in elegance for a young Barbie fan. A must-have pastel trench coat with a collar that doesn’t quit, blurs the lines between work and play. Meanwhile, the abrupt cut-off of her hot pink pants gives the outfit a punk edge.
Barbie x Dolce & Gabbana
From minimalism to… well, Dolce & Gabbana. Our D&G queen dazzles in a champagne pink ballgown dotted with cherry blossom pink flowers. As her crown reminds us: it’s Barbie’s ball, and we’re just guests. Let’s hope to be invited back to the dream castle behind her for the afterparty.
Dolce & Gabbana does produce its own range of fashion dolls. But with prices leaning towards the high three figures, you might want to keep that quiet. (You can find our guide to the best Barbie toys for kids right here.)
Barbie x Vetements
The Vetements collective is “the most radical thing to come out of Paris in over a decade” and more likely to entertain a collab with virtual AI pop star Noonnooui than the rather trad, if trending, Barbie. The label’s clothes evade the gender binary, and Vetements is not averse to putting a 16XL pink coat on a man. We’re certain Ken would be up for borrowing this oversized fuchsia raincoat, a garment so big and cozy you could live in it.
And that boiler suit? Perhaps Vetements Barbie has borrowed it from Plumber Barbie. After all, when Vetements make an all-in-one, it usually covers the face, too. Not that we would dare do that to Barbie.
From Halloween to the Catwalk
Barbie and Ken were 2023’s top choice for Halloween costumes, despite the characters not being particularly scary, and despite not being defined by a single recognisable outfit. Along with the popularity of TheToyZone’s pre-movie Friends Barbies and Queen Elizabeth II Barbies, it goes to show that whether Barbie is neatly stored in a box, trick or treating in late October, or walking the catwalk in our collective imagination, it’s always summer in Barbie Land.