Everything is Pink: How “Barbiecore” fashion fueled buzz around a movie

Lisa Richwine/Reuters

Barbie-themed merchandise.

Visit any clothing store at this time and you’re likely to encounter an explosion of pink.

“Barbiecore” items centered on the doll’s distinctive color are dominating the fashion landscape for the second year in a row, helped along by Mattel’s all-out marketing blitz.

There are Barbie sneakers, Barbie backpacks, Barbie bathing suits and Barbie sweatshirts for your dog. There are sequin-studded water bottles, neon yellow roller skates with pink wheels—and more.

Richard Dixon, president and chief operating officer of Mattel, said in an interview, “There is not a corner of the planet that hasn’t turned pink.”

Haute couture designer Valentino kicked off the recent pink wave by dressing models in head-to-toe fuchsia for its March 2022 show. This left celebrity stylists scrambling to find the look in the color they needed.

A few months later, photos surfaced showing the film and “Barbie” star Margot Robbie on set in a hot pink western jumpsuit. Madeline Hirsch, InStyle’s news director, said “over the top style” went viral at a time when Western clothing and flamboyant 2000s fashions were on trend.

This trend also coincides with many people returning to work in offices following the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

“People wanted happiness, color and new clothes to wear again, and it was easy to understand the spirited appeal of Barbie,” Hirsch said.

As the style progressed, fashion magazines featured celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to Harry Styles in dazzling outfits reminiscent of Barbie.

Barbie is one of Mattel’s three main brands. The toy maker trademarked the term “Barbiecore” in 2022 and has partnered with companies including French luxury designer Balmain, jeweler Kendra Scott and underwear company Barefoot Dreams.

These initiatives were surpassed in 2023, with over 100 partnerships linked to the film. Items currently available range from a $20 Barbie T-shirt in Old Navy to a $1,550 sweatshirt with the Balmain logo in Barbie font.

Mattel has also collaborated on a number of vintage products, such as the pink Microsoft X-Box game console that sits inside the three-story Barbie Dreamhouse.

Food items inspired by Barbie include flavored ice cream and a Barbie burger with pink sauce sold at Burger King in Brazil.

According to box office analysts, “Barbie” is set to beat its main competition at the box office over the weekend, “Oppenheimer,” the Christopher Nolan drama about the man behind the creation of the atomic bomb.

Analysts expect “Barbie” to gross $80 million to $150 million or more in US theaters between Friday and Sunday. This will be on top of the $55 million in US and Canadian ticket sales for Tom Cruise’s latest film, “Mission: Impossible 7: The Reckoning Part 1” last weekend.

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