Balmain Collaborates With Barbie On Fashion Collection – WWD

When he was growing up, Olivier Rousteing liked to play with the Barbies, which his father disapproved of.

“I wasn’t really licensed, to be honest, because my dad was a little worried about me playing with Barbie,” he confessed. “A lot of little boys want to play with Barbie and sometimes they’re not allowed to. Sometimes the company wants to put you in a box.

That’s why Balmain’s Creative Director jumped at the chance to design a collection in collaboration with Barbie, allowing her to play with the famous doll on a large scale and prioritize female empowerment, diversity. and inclusiveness.

The limited-edition 70-piece collection – ranging from 195 euros for t-shirts to 29,990 euros for a couture-caliber evening dress – is set to release on January 13 at around 50 of its multi-brand partners around the world, with Neiman Marcus in mounting a special pop-up in Dallas.

The designer has applied matching shades of pink, from blush to fuchsia, to a range of iconic Balmain styles, including sailor jumpers, satin or tweed suits, denim jackets with demonstrative gold buttons, designer dresses. intricate cocktail and a fishtail evening dress. There are also plenty of easy t-shirts and sweatshirts out there with graphics inspired by 1970s packaging, as well as jeans with a disco twist.

The accessories are inventive hybrids of iconic Balmain bags and the groovy window cardboard boxes that housed the toys at the time.

He describes the collection as a “bridge between Barbie and the world of Balmain couture, from a house born in Paris in 1945”.

A look from the Balmain x Barbie campaign.

Arriving on the fashion scene amid a tsunami of Omicron cases, the collection offers a balm of fun, color and nostalgia.

“The world must escape the darkness of the moment,” Rousteing reflected. “During childhood, the world was less complicated with child’s eyes.”

Indeed, the aspiring creator found that his grandmother accepted his penchant for the Barbies much more.

“I cut their hair, cut their clothes, remade the jacket. I also made new clothes with my grandmother because she is really good at sewing, ”he said. “I think I was eight or nine.”

Now 36, after spending a decade at the helm of the Parisian house, Rousteing seized the opportunity to further broaden the perception of Barbie and Ken with his offer, presented as 100% unisex. Meanwhile, the campaign features a black Barbie with a large pink Afro lounging by a sofa and a Ken character in a pink robe-like coat and oven mitts serving a hot meal.

Barbie X Balmain Collection

A masculine look in a dollhouse decor.

Balmain enlisted photographer Norbert Schoerner and styling duo Katie Lyall and Charlotte Stockdale from Chaos to create a series of fantastic posters for the collection, worn by a diverse cast of models in dollhouse sets. These will debut on social media and the Chaos website on January 13.

Rousteing is keen to challenge stereotypes about Barbie, fusing her fashionista image with her “Balmain Army” philosophy and showing a diverse cast of men and women freely sharing and enjoying the capsule collection.

“Ken can be Barbie’s best friend, can be boyfriend, can borrow his girlfriend’s clothes or his best friend’s clothes.” Barbie can borrow her boyfriend’s or her girlfriend’s clothes – so it’s a whole different Barbie world, but I think it’s the Barbie world we all want to see right now, ”he said. declared. “She’s still a model, but I believe the model changes and the dream changes.”

The collection is Balmain’s second collaboration with American toy giant Mattel, creator of Barbie.

Last May, Rousteing created three CGI dolls and his two Balmain Barbies and a Ken Balmain, donned pagoda-shoulder suits for a virtual fashion shoot, posing in front of the same airliners that were used as props for Rousteing’s aviation-inspired fall 2021 collection.

According to Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel, Barbie and Balmain “are creating a new chapter in the legacy of the toy and fashion industries.

“As a fashion house committed to innovation in unexpected and joyful ways, Balmain, under the creative direction of Olivier Rousteing, is the perfect partner to translate iconography essential to the Barbie universe into a modern iteration of the world. digital art and wearable beauty in tandem, ”he said.

Rousteing noted that the collection would be limited to several thousand pieces.


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