Balmain’s Barbies Are Diverse, CGI — and Wear Pagoda Shoulders

DOLL FACE: Balmain is the latest fashion brand to link up with Mattel’s Barbie — this time for three CGI dolls that reflect creative director Olivier Rousteing’s convictions about inclusivity.

The two Balmain Barbies, and one Balmain Ken, donned pagoda-shoulder suits for their first virtual fashion shoot, posing in front of the same jetliners that were used as props for Rousteing’s aviation-inspired fall 2021 collection and film for the French house.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have so many examples of different kinds of beauty, so I loved the idea of creating more — I wouldn’t say just diverse beauties — but just different beauties,” Rousteing said in an interview earlier this week.

Rousteing said he played with Barbie as a child, drawn, of course, to the variety of fantastical outfits, but also as a way to dabble in  adult life. That said, he kept this favorite mode of play hidden. “I remember my dad didn’t want me with a Barbie in my hand, and I think it’s wrong,” he said. “Don’t put pressure on any kids because they want to play with Barbie, whether it’s a boy or girl.”

To wit: Balmain’s Barbie and Ken both wear pink — and blue.

A look at Balmain’s collaboration with Barbie featuring CGI dolls. Courtesy of Balmain

Mattel’s president and chief operating officer Richard Dickson has been working on expanding the collaboration-meets-collectible formula for Barbie — now thrust into CGI at Balmain.

“Each of the many partnerships Barbie has been involved in has served as a reflection of the times and snapshot of pop culture,” Dickson said.

According to Balmain, house founder Pierre Balmain would gather scraps off the floor of his mother’s dress shop in the Alpine village of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to make costumes for the small characters that he created and cast in plays.

It is understood Balmain has other projects with Mattel in the pipeline.

See also:

Moore From L.A.: What Fashion Brands Can Learn From Mattel and Toys

Olivier Rousteing Documentary Gives Raw Insight Into Personal Quest

EXCLUSIVE: Olivier Rousteing’s Avatar Greets Buyers at Balmain’s Virtual Showroom

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