Barbiecore, the hyper-feminine, pretty-in-pink aesthetic pioneered by our favourite doll, Barbie, is showing no signs of loosening its chokehold on fashion fanatics.
Of course, it’s easy to see why this style is taking over.
However it’s not just these trite and kitschy renditions of Barbie’s signature silhouettes that the film is preponing that’s contributing to the over 7.5 million views the Barbiecore hashtag has amassed on TikTok.
Everywhere, fashion designers and fashion fans alike are embracing the nostalgic, and yassified approach to emulating Barbie’s high-fashion and hyper-pink style.
Below, we break down the rise of Barbiecore, and why the trend has more meaning than meets the eye.
Barbie has long been a source of inspiration for both fashion lovers and fashion designers alike, and it’s easy to understand why.
The all-American, Malibu-babe with the beach blonde locks, private jet and every outfit and accessory under the sun is more than child’s play. She’s a symbol of the American dream, a beacon of beauty standards and emblematic of opulence. She’s affluent and she knows it.
On the flip side, the doll is also a feminist icon, given she’s symbolised women’s liberation and independence (albeit simultaneously being a proponent for unrealistic body standards, but more on that later).
Barbiecore is rooted in aspiration, it’s what made the doll so popular after all. The doll has the dreamhouse, the dream boyfriend, the dream lifestyle. She’s blonde, she’s thin, she’s rich and she knows it. She’s dressing to the male gaze, the epitome of “all girls want to be her, all guys want to be with her”.
Purveyors of Barbiecore will know that dressing like Barbie is a lifestyle, it’s about emulating the attitude of our Y2K icons like Paris Hilton and the cast of Mean Girls—there is a reason why they’re called ‘The Plastics’.
However, with Margot Robbie’s Barbie introducing a new generation to the allure of the Barbie aesthetic, with refreshed zeal and energetic appeal. With the film set to promote a feminist take on the role, we can only hope that the new images of real-life Barbie and Ken aren’t sending us back down a dangerous road of starvation in exchange for snatched waists.
But it, with the Barbiecore aesthetic saturating the mainstream, it was only a matter of time before it appeared on the runway.
Moschino dedicated their SS/15 collection to the Mattel doll, with a campy display of everything we love (and loath) about the style—campy silhouettes, joyful colour pallets and gaudy patterns that would make the Memphis Group jealous.
But it’s not just Valentino who are trying their hands at this familiar and serotonin-boosting style.
We’re not sure if the pair were cosplaying as ‘Halloween Barbie’ or ’90s Rave Barbie’ but their matching Chet Lo and Nensi Dojaka ensembles proved that the Barbiecore style transcends subcultures.
A punk barbie who defies conventions and shops emerging, independent labels? We’re here for it.
And how can we not forget Kim Kardashian’s all-pink Balenciaga ensembles? The reality star and businesswoman has been striving to achieve this Barbie alter-ego—the pastiche-esque, silicon-filled and ultra feminine aesthetic.
However, the question must be asked if this style is worthy of being celebrated? With the aesthetics rooted in heteronormative and western ideals of beauty (read: blonde hair, caucasian, able bodied and ultra-thin), is the Barbiecore aesthetic more exclusionary than meets the eye?
Sure, the act of wearing bright neon hues or you high octane Balenciaga and Valentino ensembles may be a subconscious act of reclaiming your femininity, however when a large group is excluded from the narrative, is Barbiecore worth being praised?
Perhaps life in plastic, isn’t fantastic after all.