There is an inexplicable hype around the latest Barbie flick. The Greta Gerwig movie is making waves in theatres and swiftly making its way from the screen into wardrobes too. Back when the buzz around the new film began in 2022-end, Barbie inspired couture took off on international ramps and even red carpets.
But what began as women indulging in pink outfits quickly turned into outright costumes as Barbie. Now, with the film doing well at the theatres, social media is filled with examples of what people wore to Barbie, ranging from T-shirts to pretty frocks.
Fans like Mandira Bansal, a fashion designer, experience such a connect to childhood and girlie games of dressing Barbie up. "Many generations have grown up with Barbie being their playmate. I chose to celebrate my bond with her by dressing up for the movie," she says. Fashion is a major part of the latest Barbie movie. And the doll’s history is remembered mostly by her fashion statements.
The Barbie doll debuted in 1959 as an alternative to baby dolls, which were the norm. Barbie and her clothes were endlessly customisable. It was a platform for little girls to project their future selves. Barbara Handler, whose mother Ruth Handler invented Barbie, in an interview to the New York Times, said, "the idea of separate clothes" is what inspired Barbie and helped her gain such a cult-like following.
For fashion priestess Pavitra Sagar, Barbie is an emotion. "Dressing up like Barbie isn’t about making a fashion statement. It’s being able to celebrate the core of femineity in the simplest form. Fashion has many layers and each person’s perception of feminine is different. But almost all girls while growing up have related to the Barbie doll as an emotion. There were phases where I dressed my doll in pretty frills and then there was also the cowgirl phase." With Barbie’s ageless appeal, industrialist Nidhi Goenka says, "While we may not be able to flaunt the real Barbie dress, we sure take inspiration."
Echoing similar sentiments, Cancer activist Vimmi Deepak says, "In our friends circle we all decided to dress as Barbie on one of our recent trips. It was a great way to feel teen-like again and party our night away." There was a certain freedom associated with fashion even back then. Children dressed Barbie up in their own fantasy fashion. Often, parents would indulge their kids in tailor-made outfits or shop for outfits when travelling abroad. Beauty and Wellness influencer Shayana Reddy agrees. Barbie paved the way for taking thematic dressing to a whole new level - the styling choices taught us all about accessorising and bright lip shades. I did a play on my roots by dressing up as a Punjabi Barbie.