Nowadays cooperations are so natural in the fashion industry that you hardly expect anything surprising. But the Balmain and Barbie collection does something interesting.
As a child, Pierre Balmain sewed costumes for dolls from scraps of fabric from his parents’ textile shop. He incorporated his art into small plays. After he made a name for himself as an up-and-coming couturier in Paris, the podcast series “L’Atelier Balmain” says about the history of the house, he had to improvise in 1945 due to the war-related shortage of goods of all kinds in order to be able to present his designs: So he showed his designs on dolls in inexpensive miniature versions. And now, 77 years later, the brand is clothing dolls again under the direction of Creative Director Olivier Rousteing.
It is the first high fashion cooperation of the new year: a collection by Barbie and Balmain. Although this is not the first collaboration between the two brands, the French fashion house redesigned the Mattel toy icon as early as the spring of 2021, but for the first time, the clothing and accessories are also available in adult sizes.
These three unique NFTs can be auctioned
Source: Barbie x Balmain
Both the Barbie timeline and Balmain’s design history record fashion moments that shaped pop culture and shaped trends. This common influence on fashion and culture is expressed in the new collection.
For the ready-to-wear collection, Oliver Rousteing, Creative Director at Balmain, has reinterpreted Balmain’s unmistakable design signature through Barbie’s eyes. The Pantone color “Barbie Pink”, as well as a nostalgic Nineties Barbie logo and visual references to the unmistakable Barbie packaging are reflected in the over 50 looks of the collection. Balmain’s stripe design and labyrinth pattern appear in new versions that are adapted to Barbie’s style.
The more than 50-piece, Barbie-inspired unisex collection also includes three NFTs, ie “non-fungible tokens”, with unique looks, which Mattel Creations will auction on the mintNFT platform. But unlike pure NFTs, which are exclusively virtual collector’s items, the auctioned look is also available physically for the highest bidder – but in doll size.
For Rousteing, the collaboration with Mattel is “more than just a commercial project. It’s very emotional”, the New York Times quotes the designer who, as a child, thought he shouldn’t play with dolls (because he was a boy) – he did it anyway and felt “rejected” by those around him. Now he’s not only clad the most iconic plastic doll in the world, but also adult men and women.
On the occasion of the partnership, Barbie and Balmain started a digital campaign – designed by Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall, photographed by Norbert Schörner
Source: Barbie x Balmain
The collection picks up on Rousteing’s typical Balmain aesthetics and opulence and filters them through rose-colored Barbie glasses. “Having Barbie in my Balmain Army and designing a collection inspired by her that doesn’t include boys or girls’ clothes is my little revenge.”
In addition to the collection, which will be available in Balmain stores and selected retailers as well as online from January 13th, Balmain has created three Barbie NFTs under the direction of Mattel Creations. These non-replaceable digital items will be available exclusively through an online Mattel Creations auction. The Barbie NFTs are equipped with virtual Balmain designs and are each supplemented by a tailor-made, material Balmain set in Barbie size.
The e-commerce platform Mattel Creations was founded by the toy manufacturer in 2020. Limited Barbie editions should establish themselves, which underline the cult factor of Barbie and re-stage the figure as an art object. With the rise of the Metaverse, Mattel Creations has become increasingly important in the virtual world of the creative industry.
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