Balmain x Barbie: 2022’s coolest collaboration

Ruhi Gilder 
2021 has been the year of collaborations, some that were beautiful, some unusual and some unsettling. Balenciaga and The Simpsons, Tiffany and Supreme, Versace and Fendi, Sabyasachi and H&M, Lego and Friends all shook hands last year. Early last year, Berluti even released a special collection with Barbie’s male counterpart, the fashionable Ken. Kickstarting this year of collaborations are cultural icons, Barbie and Balmain, who are releasing a special limited-edition collection of apparel, accessories and another trend from 2021, NFTs (non-fungible tokens).  
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain / Instagram
Nostalgia and the emotional attachment to Barbies is what makes this collection attractive. For everyone who loves playing dress up with their dolls, Balmain’s life-size collection is infinitely tempting. That familiar pink, and the soothing 1990s-era script of the brand make their way to French taste-maker Olivier Rousteing’s sketch pad, taking on a couture look.

 

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For the Creative Director of Balmain, this collection is a painfully personal one, “When I was a little boy, I remembered hearing comments saying: a girl plays with Barbie, a boy with a car. This is such a cliché. As much as blue is for boys, pink is for girls. I feel so proud of this collaboration because we are building a world where you are defined by neither a gender, nor colors, neither non-relevant gender-codes,” says Rousteing. 
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain / Instagram
The edit itself is a masterclass in pink, due to the colour’s strong association with Mattel’s much-loved doll. The colour palette evolves from the softer blush tones to stronger and brighter hues of the shade. Rousteing and his team have also been inspired by the Barbie’s signature iconography. Badges, tees and hoodies are peppered with the bold pink graphic, while the accessories use Balmain’s classic silhouettes with touches of Barbara Millicent Roberts’ aesthetic. Balmain’s iconic Logo Mariniere and its Labyrinth pattern also get a Barbie-esque glow up. The capsule collection will see your favourite childhood toy dressed in high-fashion voluminous dresses, bomber jackets, skirt and crop top co-ord sets, embellished necklaces and chunky logo-ed bangles. 
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain/ Instagram
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain
Bending gender norms 
Each image of the collaboration celebrates inclusivity and bends gender norm. In the words of Olivier Rousteing, “Barbie and Balmain are embarking upon a distinctly multicultural, inclusive and always joy-filled adventure.” The collaboration builds upon the New French Style of Balmain’s most recent collections, inspired by contemporary Parisian boulevards and avenues. In a move reflective of Rousteing’s philosophy on fashion, the collection rejects arbitrary gender limitations and is almost 100% unisex.  
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain / Instagram
Balmain x Barbie
Photo Courtesy: Balmain / Instagram
In addition to ready-to-wear items, three Barbie avatars get a digital makeover as Mattel and Balmain launch a trio of collectible NFTs. Each avatar of Barbie shows off creations from the capsule collection and will be auctioned on Mattel Creations’ website, hosted by mint NFT on January 11. The highest bidders will receive not only the digital token, but also a one-of-a-kind physical Barbie-scaled version of the outfit their avatar is wearing. 
Photo Courtesy: Balmain
Photo Courtesy: Balmain
The first Barbie NFT wears an off-shoulder striped sweater dress and carries a pink oversized pillow bag featuring Balmain’s labyrinth monogram. 

 

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 Barbie x Balmain NFT #2 makes a larger-than-life first impression in a voluminous silk-satin dress in the doll’s signature pink-hue, with an exaggerated bow detail.  

 

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The next avatar is modelled after Barbie’s boyfriend Ken who also looks chic in pink. Layered over a white cotton t-shirt, the double-breasted blazer and long peak collar coat is paired with loose pleated trousers. The red-carpet styled look is complete with a Balmain Paris cap.  

 

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The collection will be available worldwide from January 13 onwards.  
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