Take a look at Instagram right now and it won’t be long before the realization hits you: we’re all Barbie girls living in a Barbie world. Hot pink fakes. Fuchsia fitting in someone’s living room. A cute pair of pale pink roller skates. As the name suggests, Barbiecore is all about making everything pink, based on the traditional aesthetic of the original Mattel toy line, which began in 1959.
Examples include pictures from Greta Gerwig that went viral Barbie The film – starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken – is a collaboration between Barbie and Zara and Balmain, and the vast array of hot pink items currently sold by luxury brands such as Jacques, Balenciaga, Loewe and Valentino. The latter’s latest couture show was full of shade.
Although this should come as no surprise, trend forecasting company WGSN predicted the rise of Barbiecore in May 2020. That’s when it announced that the 2022 color will be “Orchid Blossom,” which is—you guessed it—a very Barbie-like, bright pink described by the company as a “saturated magenta tone.”
“The reason this color is so popular right now (and why we predicted it) is because of its energizing quality,” explains Sarah Maggioni, head of womenswear at WGSN. “It’s fun, it’s bold. [and] It is known that it is not as accessible as other bright shades. Think of it as a progression from millennial pink, the gloom that dominated the internet — and just about every Pinterest feed in existence — for the better part of 2016. This may have adjusted the consumer’s eye to this level of color. Maggioni adds.
Current dopamine forms part of a shift to what’s called dressing, meaning a person’s desire to reflect a happier, more positive mood in post-locker clothing. In many ways, barbicore is one of the many fashion trends that are subverting the neutral palettes we’ve all sported while stuck at home for months.
But Barbiecore doesn’t just embrace a certain shade. It’s also about a certain mood, one about autonomy and self-confidence, and can be conveyed by what WGSN calls “saucer beauty.” “Think bodycon silhouettes, miniskirts, crop tops, statement skirts, other fun and dopamine-boosting colors and prints,” says Maggioni. “Most of these items flow for a while, mainly because of the consumer’s desire to wear them and want to wear them again and live again.”
Given Barbie’s 1950s heritage, the growth of Barbiecore is also about fashion’s nostalgic obsession – something that’s relevant this year due to the resurgence of Y2K styles we’ve seen this season. “It’s key for a demographic that lived through those times and now seeks comfort in that familiarity, but also among a new demographic that romanticizes the past,” says Maggioni. Even though it was the past, they didn’t experience it themselves.
Barbie is a female superhero who embodies pink, feminine femininity and mature beauty.
That’s why many of the Barbiecore looks we’ve seen worn by celebrities—think Bella Hadid and Zendaya—incorporate elements of Y2K culture, the “girl power” attitude of alien bra dolls, or movies like this. Legally blonde And Clueless. In recent weeks, some fashion critics have asked what the rise of Barbiecore says about feminism.
Embracing Barbiecore delves into something deeper about women’s perceptions of their bodies and sexuality and how they are changing. “For young women, it’s about turning the male gaze on its head,” says Maggioni. “Many who sport the trend see it as a way to reclaim the ‘bimbo beauty’ once synonymous with Barbie and challenge its conventional meaning. [that] Smart and sexy clothes can go hand in hand.
It’s worth noting that in recent years, Barbie herself has undergone a feminized — and more inclusive — transformation. From the white, blond-haired, and impossibly thin-but-big-breasted body type that dominated Barbie’s early incarnations, today’s dolls come in a variety of body shapes, hair colors, and ethnicities.
In the year In 2019, Mattel launched a line of “gender inclusive” toys that included dolls with physical differences — one with prosthetic limbs and the other in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, the brand’s newly launched “Inspiring Women” series reaffirms its commitment to celebrating women from all walks of life, with dolls modeled after everyone from Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou to British primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall.
“Traditionally, Barbie is like a female superhero who embodies pink, feminine femininity and grown-up grace,” said Rebecca Arnold, senior lecturer in costume and textile history at the Cortez Institute of Art. But she’s also highly adaptable, and Mattel has constantly thought to keep in touch with contemporary ideas and perspectives since it was first created in 1959.
Apparently, Barbiecore is more than meets the eye. Yes, in many ways, it is a celebration of super-feminine joy. But it’s about subverting society’s expectations and reclaiming stereotypes of feminism. Feminists can wear hot pink just like they can wear makeup. And so can anyone.