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While pink is the new black, is Barbiecore here to stay?

Scrolling through our Instagram feeds or stories, we see a riot of bon-ton dresses, ruffles, sparkling details, rigorously uncovered legs, and extensive use of delicate fabrics, presented by both the girl next door and leading fashion houses, which have made pink the main colour of their collections. 

While celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa and Anne Hathaway all love pink, fashion houses have recently made its shades the main colours of their collections

While celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa and Anne Hathaway all love pink, fashion houses have recently made its shades the main colours of their collections

It’s the Barbiecore effect. This neologism indicates pink in all its forms, inspired by Barbie’s universe staple colour and aesthetic, recently boosted by the film Barbie (out in July 2023). After being elected the must-have colour of SS 2022, pink went viral on social networks and became celebs’ and influencers’ BFF.

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Un post condiviso da DUA LIPA (@dualipa)

A fun Barbiecore tool you may want to try is the Barbie Selfie Generator. Use it to create your own Barbie-themed avatar and look like an actor from the Barbie film cast. Dua Lipa, playing a mermaid doll in the Barbie film, gives us some “early Katy Perry” vibes in blue 

Are we all going to dress up like the iconic platinum blonde doll? Maybe not, but adding some pink to our outfits seems reasonable. Mostly we can embrace Barbiecore to shake our perception of what’s feminine, along with our wardrobes. Right now, Barbiecore is a vessel for big social uphill battles: an attitude that embodies essential concepts but manages to lighten them with a hint of fun and irony.

 

 

It’s all about rethinking pink

Between 2022 and 2023, Barbiecore has quickly become one of the most used hashtags on TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, along with the booming craze of making tutorials on how to emulate Barbie, reinterpreting her style.

Influencers and celebrities instantly followed the trend, showing off total bubble-gum pink or fuchsia outfits at glam events. Kim Kardashian was the first to adopt this trend, followed by Due Lipa and Anne Hathaway, three women who love to play with fashion.

Anne Hathaway in a look from the Valentino Pink PP fall-winter 2022/2023 collection. Artwork created with the Barbie Selfie Generator

Anne Hathaway in a look from the Valentino Pink PP fall-winter 2022/2023 collection. Artwork created with the Barbie Selfie Generator

The “This Barbie is an Uber driver” meme is making people crack up on @ideservecouture, where fashion icons like Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace and Naomi Campbell sit next to Margot Robbie. 

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Un post condiviso da @ideservecouture

The meme factory @ideservecouture is a must-follow IG profile for the LOL

The Barbiecore trend is huge on TikTok and Instagram, with outfits that didn’t just want to emulate the doll but also celebrate her with total pink looks. But how much pink do we really need in our lives right now? Apparently, plenty of it. With the Valentino Pink PP Collection fall-winter 2022/23 presented at Paris Fashion Week, designer Pierpaolo Piccioli made pink the star of the show in collaboration with Pantone, creating a highly glamorous collection. 

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Un post condiviso da do. | design studio (@thedo.studio)

#valentinopinkppcollection as seen by Midjourney and @thedo.studio visual artist

For fashion, it is a further step forward on the issue of inclusiveness. Barbiecore is not just pink: it’s glamour, light-heartedness, and sparkle. Piccioli’s total-pink proposals are perfect for riding the trend without the classic doll look.

 

 

Is Barbie leading or following the trend? 

The Barbiecore phenomenon focuses on a precise question: has the doll been an influencer or a follower of this trend? At the base is the influence of the most anticipated live-action film of the year featuring Barbie, making the pink craze boom a few moments after publishing a photo from the set. Others think it all started with the Piccioli fashion show, which launched a new colour, the “Valentino Pink PP”. 

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Un post condiviso da Valentino (@maisonvalentino)

Zendaya has very “Pink Dreams” in the new campaign for #ValentinoPinkPPCollection

There is good reason to think of Barbie as an influencer or follower of this hot trend, even though Mattel says Barbiecore is not a colour or a trend but rather an attitude representing empowerment, gender equality and pride. However, the answer to the question is still interesting, and according to Richard Dickson, Chief Operating Officer of Mattel Inc, there is no doubt they are the creators of this trend.

Their goal is to integrate Barbie into the environment where she finds herself; it must not be too avant-garde or outdated. She must strike a balance between the two as the only way to stay relevant as a brand, fashion icon and role model.

  

Embracing Kencore as an antidote to gender bias  

Harry Styles went viral with a pink Gucci eco-fur at Coachella 2022, while Brad Pitt showed up in total pink two-piece suit at the première of Bullet Train in Korea

Harry Styles went viral with a pink Gucci eco-fur at Coachella 2022, while Brad Pitt showed up in total pink two-piece suit at the première of Bullet Train in Korea

Pink is not for women only: we know, you know, but somebody doesn’t and needs to be reminded mainly through male celebrities. Harry Styles went viral with a pink Gucci eco-fur at Coachella 2022. Brad Pitt couldn’t resist giving a pink twist to his wardrobe and showed up in total pink two-piece suit by indie designer Haans Nicholas Mott, at the première of Bullet Train in Korea.

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Un post condiviso da @harrystyles

Harry Styles incorporated a massive dose of pink in his Love on Tour 2022 outfits 

It’s called Kencore, a trend that focuses on gender neutrality and fluidity of fashion, and Mattel itself has sold dedicated tees. It specifies that the role of Rayan Gosling, aka Ken, in the film Barbie will be fundamental in highlighting how masculinity can take on different images. The strong message wants to definitively break down two clichés: pink as a uniquely feminine colour and dolls as a game that is not just for children. 

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Un post condiviso da Barbie (@barbie)

Ken sports a pink t-shirt in this Mattel parody of the Barbie film teaser. Very stylish!

Some disruptive and playful fashion brands have been one step ahead. In 2015, Mattel created a commercial where a child played with Barbies to present the Limited Edition of Moschino. A boy was officially “allowed” to play with the doll for the first time in history. It was an exciting starting point to change the narrative and disrupt gender biases. It was just a start.

We don’t know if or when we’ll get over pink. This rule-breaking approach is here to stay for sure.

Created with the Barbie Selfie Generator, this artwork shows Brad Pitt in a Kencore mood

Created with the Barbie Selfie Generator, this artwork shows Brad Pitt in a Kencore mood

 

 

Agnese Pasquinelli
Fashion Business, Digital Communication & Media student, 2nd year, Milan
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postgraduate-Master's Degrees • Master's Courses