Happy Barbiegeddon! Whether or not you’re Team Barbie or Team Oppenheimer, there’s no question that the press looks for Barbie slayed – and slayed hard, and I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a fashion writer if I didn’t provide commentary. Sadly, even though THE Barbie (Margot Robbie) and fellow Barbies are on strike, we’ve got plenty of material to work with, and I’ve compiled my list of favourite premiere and press looks to present to you.
Of course, I plan to do a Barbie movie review (it’s pink and it’s anti-patriarchy, why wouldn’t I cover it?), but to give you Barbies times to see it apart from your busy lives full of multitudes, I’ve given you a bit of leeway, so I don’t reveal any spoilers. In the meantime, why not revel in the glorious and fantastic styling of Margot Robbie during her press tour? (Please, I beg of you, watch the movie; you do not understand how hard it is for me not to talk to everyone I know about it. I am about to explode with commentary. Spoilers will be coming. You have been warned.)
Hopefully, this worldwide whirlwind of pink reminded actors, actresses, PR agents and stylists around the world that fashion is supposed to be fun, and why not make the most of it by taking it to the max? Bring on the camp!
The London Premiere: 1962 Brunette Bubble Cut Barbie
Let’s start off with home turf, with our favourite Barbie emulating the Brunette Bubble Cut Barbie straight from the 1960s, wearing the ‘Enchanted Evening’ dress. Created custom by Vivienne Westwood, it features the signature structured corset that we all know and love. As Ryan Gosling so wisely said, “Behind every Barbie is a Ken – one who’s happy to be there, in case she needs anything,” and this outfit came with a tall drink of water in a black suit to artfully drape her train... all while standing next to Ryan (THE Ken) himself. Two gorgeous accessories and one showstopping dress! What more could this Barbie want? A girl can dream.
The London Afterparty: 1962 Brunette Bubble Cut Barbie
If you know your Barbie lore, then you’ll know that the Brunette Bubble Cut Barbie actually came dressed in a scarlet bodysuit, ensuring she gets dressed for her glamourous evening wearing the Enchanted Evening dress in style. I like to think of it like the Pink Ladies in Grease at their sleepover – the lost art of taking a whole evening for self-grooming and care. For a modern take on this subversive look, stylist Andrew Mukamal commissioned CSM graduate Dilara Findikoglou to create an ultra-mini dress to celebrate the afterparty occasion. With a structured corset that accentuates Margot’s tiny frame, it adds a modern edge with the upturned neckline for the Turkish designer’s signature bite. Sold on her website for a measly £1825, you too can look just like Barbie – if you have the cash money.
The Mexico City Photocall: 1992 Totally Hair Barbie
If you remember the Totally Hair Barbie, it could very well have been the turning point for your migration into the fashion industry, with the original dress so obviously inspired by Emilio Pucci. Naturally, Mukamal would commission the Italian brand to create its own version for the Mexico City premiere, which Margot wears with long crimped hair and a mini bag. Would I have loved to see some wild extensions going on? Sure! But Mukamal’s modern take on vintage Barbies delightfully brings the looks into the present while still paying homage to the original dolls as they were. A nostalgic ensemble that simultaneously makes you want to dress like her right... now!
The Seoul Premiere: 1985 Day to Night Barbie
In fashion, we write a lot about the “modern woman,” one that goes from home to work to lunch, back to work, then to play tennis and then out to dinner – and maybe an evening class after that. Although a doll created in 1959, Barbie was created with the intention to teach young girls that women can do anything they put their mind to, and that they are multifaceted beings with rich and expansive lives; there is more to life than just being a homemaker, if you so choose. Needless to say, the Day to Night Barbie is particularly special to the brand, coming with two outfits (both replicated in Seoul, although I much preferred the Day look) that can transform power-dressing professional Barbie into one ready to dance the night away – we contain multitudes, of course. We can do it all! Don’t miss her pink Judith Lieber telephone bag (yes, she is wearing two handbags, albeit the Lieber one is wildly impractical due to its dimensions) and her polka-dot boater.
The Sydney Photocall: Versace 1994
For those in the fashion know, this look is one for the ages. Immediately recognisable as the style that Christy Turlington wore in the advert with all the supers (yes, google it immediately; it’s one of Gianni Versace’s best ads, and perhaps one of the best fashion ads of all time), it’s a vintage Versace number from 1994. A metallic leather pleated mini skirt is paired with a cropped sweater and heeled loafers – and don’t forget the socks. All at once preppy, bimbo, and fashion-forward, this look encapsulates what it means to be a woman – quite fitting for Barbie, wouldn’t you say?
The Airport Look
Long lost are the days when people dressed up to get on a plane, and so lost along with that phenomenon are interesting airport looks that we can judge celebrities on. Margot toes the line between statement airport dressing and contemporary clothing with this Gucci ensemble, designed for both comfort and style. Note the Gucci sweatsuit (a straight-leg silhouette goes a long way elevating the style from the norm, having a more elegant look than the quintessential elasticated cuffs), capacious tote bag (a tonal match, obviously), and a pair of satin Versace flatforms that influenced me to check the Versace website repeatedly for the baby pink iteration (they currently only sell lilac, blue, and hot pink).
The Sydney Premiere: 1959 Original Barbie
It feels only right that I sign off my commentary with a look from the very beginning, so to hint at the cyclical cycle of fashion (not really, that just came to me now and sounded touching, so I wrote it down). This Hervé Léger bandage dress pays homage to the original Barbie released in 1959 (which, if you have one at home, you could sell for up to £28,000!), which she is wearing at one of the fanciest places in Sydney – Icebergs. Not pictured, the iconic lido on Bondi Beach with Barbie’s logo emblazoned across the bottom. As an honorary Sydneysider, even I know this is the ultimate mark of respect.