Barbiecore is the style motion turning hyper-femininity on its head

Barbie ladies: Kim Kardashian, the unique doll and Anne Hathaway in Valentino (Instagram/Kim Kardashian/Mattel Inc/Getty Pictures)

Take one have a look at Instagram proper now and it gained’t be lengthy till the realisation hits you: we’re all Barbie ladies dwelling in a Barbie world. Sizzling pink frocks. Fuchsia fittings in somebody’s lounge. A satisfying pair of pale pink curler skates. Because the title might counsel, Barbiecore is about channelling all issues pink, as per the normal aesthetic of the unique Mattel doll, which launched in 1959.

Examples embody these viral on-set photographs from Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie movie – which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken – the collaborations between Barbie and Zara and Balmain, and the myriad sizzling pink objects at present on sale at luxurious manufacturers, resembling Jacquemus, Balenciaga, Loewe and Valentino. The latter’s current couture present was even awash with the shade.

None of that is stunning, although, with pattern forecasting firm WGSN having predicted the rise of Barbiecore in Could 2020. That was when it introduced that the color of 2022 could be “Orchid Flower”, which is – you guessed it – a really Barbie-like, shiny pink described by the corporate as a “saturated magenta tone”.

“The rationale why this color is prospering proper now (and why we predicted it) is as a result of it has an energising high quality,” explains Sara Maggioni, head of womenswear at WGSN. “It’s enjoyable, daring [and] has a familiarity to it that isn’t inaccessible like different vibrant shades.” Consider it as a development from millennial pink, that dusky shade of rose that dominated the web – and nearly each Pinterest feed in existence – for the higher a part of 2016. “That may have adjusted the patron’s eye to this color degree,” provides Maggioni.

It types half of the present shift in the direction of so-called dopamine dressing, ie eager to replicate a happier and extra upbeat temper via one’s clothes post-lockdown. In some ways, Barbiecore is one among many trend traits that subverts the impartial palettes we sported when all of us have been caught at house for months on finish.

However Barbiecore isn’t nearly embracing a particular shade. It’s additionally a few specific temper, one that’s about autonomy and confidence and might be channelled through what WGSN dubs a “sassier aesthetic”. “Assume bodycon silhouettes, miniskirts, cropped tops, assertion platforms, different enjoyable and dopamine-boosting colors and prints,” says Maggioni. “A lot of these things have been effervescent below for some time, predominantly pushed by the patron’s want for wanting to decorate up and exit and stay life once more.”

Given Barbie’s Fifties heritage, the rise of Barbiecore can be about trend’s obsession with nostalgia – one thing that has turn into particularly pertinent this yr because of the resurgence of Y2K kinds we’ve seen this season. “It’s a key issue for a demographic who lived via these occasions and are at present searching for solace in that familiarity,” Maggioni says, “but in addition amongst a brand new demographic that romanticises the previous.” Even when that previous is one they’ve not skilled themselves.

Barbie is sort of a feminine superhero who embodies the extremes of pink, girlie femininity and a grown-up glamour

This is the reason so most of the Barbiecore appears to be like we’ve seen worn by celebrities – suppose Bella Hadid and Zendaya – have integrated components of Y2K tradition, whether or not it’s the “lady energy” angle of noughties Bratz dolls, or movies like Legally Blonde and Clueless. In current weeks, it’s additionally led some trend critics to ask what the rise of Barbiecore says about feminism.

Embracing Barbiecore faucets into one thing deeper about girls’s perceptions of their our bodies and their sexuality, and the way they’re altering. “For younger girls, it’s about flipping the male gaze on its head,” explains Maggioni. “Lots of the folks sporting the pattern see it as a manner of reclaiming the ‘bimbo aesthetic’ that was as soon as synonymous with Barbie, and difficult what it historically means, displaying [that] mind and attractive clothes can go hand in hand.”

It’s price noting, too, that Barbie itself has undergone a feminist – and extra inclusive – makeover lately. Removed from the white, blonde-haired and impossibly thin-but-big-breasted physique kind that dominated Barbie’s earlier incarnations, at present’s dolls are available a variety of physique shapes, hair colors and ethnicities.

Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken in ‘Barbie’ (Warner Bros)

Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken in ‘Barbie’ (Warner Bros)

In 2019, Mattel launched a line of  “gender inclusivedolls that included dolls with bodily variations – one has a prosthetic limb and one other comes with a wheelchair. In the meantime, the model’s newly launched “inspiring girls” collection has confirmed its dedication to honouring girls from all walks of life, with dolls modelled after everybody from Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou to English primatologist Dr Jane Goodall.

“Historically, Barbie is sort of a feminine superhero who embodies the extremes of pink, girlie femininity and a grown-up glamour,” says Rebecca Arnold, senior lecturer within the historical past of gown and textiles on the Courtauld Institute of Artwork. “However she can be extremely adaptable, and Mattel has regularly reimagined her since she was first created in 1959 to connect with modern beliefs and attitudes.”

Evidently, Barbiecore is about far more than meets the attention. Sure, it’s about celebrating a joyous color that’s, in some ways, hyper-feminised. Nevertheless it’s additionally about subverting societal expectations and reclaiming stereotypes of femininity. Simply as feminists can put on make-up, they will additionally put on sizzling pink. And so can anybody else.