I’m a Barbie girl: See the Barbiecore looks S’poreans are rocking
Seeing pink everywhere? Barbiecore has hit Singapore, ahead of the hotly anticipated live-action film which opens in cinemas here on Thursday.
The Straits Times scopes out what locals are wearing to catch the film and their favourite memories of the iconic fashion doll.
Jian Yang, 43, Singapore’s biggest Barbie collector and head of strategy at a communications agency
“My favourite Barbie memory is constantly crawling under the bed with my (sister’s) Dream Glow Barbie in 1986. The doll wore a gown with glow-in-the-dark stars, and we couldn’t always wait until nighttime to watch her glow. So we’d always be under the bed where it was dark, to take in all her glowing glory.
Barbie is a symbol of how if you follow your heart, and don’t take what everyone says too seriously, you can create your own success. I think the movie balances that very well, where she and Ken are actually goofballs living their own reality, but ultimately succeeding at life despite what it throws at them.
The highlight piece of my outfit is a Helmut Lang jacket, in the pinkest hue I could muster. I have a closet full of Barbie-branded shirts and I’ve chosen this one from Zara. White jeans from Balmain (because there is a Balmain x Barbie collab) and shoes from Maison Martin Margiela.
I interpret Barbiecore as dressing like how you’d dress a Barbie, then putting it on yourself – which could include oversized accessories, plastic handbags; and not necessarily pink. My outfit is not related to any iconic Barbie outfit because if nothing else, I’m going as Ken.
I will have a doll with me at the premiere, maybe two, who will go in a Thom Browne Kite bag to add some whimsy. I’m definitely taking along the Margot Robbie doll, but I haven’t decided what she’ll be wearing. The Jian doll (of myself with his own Instagram page @JustLikeJian) will also be dressed for the occasion.
I love what they’ve been doing with Margot Robbie’s red-carpet dresses – the public relations and marketing teams are having a field day. And I love how they got fashion houses to interpret classic Barbie fashions. Do I own any of them? I actually have them all in my collection.”
Sherri Ashlee Toh, early 30s, content creator and drama teacher
“One of my most cherished memories of Barbie is of the first doll I received – a second-hand doll from my brother’s good friend. Though it was pre-owned, I adored her every feature and spent countless hours dressing her up and creating stories for her.
Seeing a live-action movie version of Barbie now has an almost magical resonance for me. It’s like revisiting my childhood.
My outfit to watch the movie in is a casual yet chic sequinned top from H&M, paired with silver pants from Bershka that add an edge to the look. I have my Kipling x Barbie bag and have opted for comfy Adidas sneakers.
My shades are an event freebie that serendipitously tie the look together, and I’ve topped it off with jewellery from APM Monaco and pink hair clips from Shopee to evoke the light-heartedness of Barbie’s world.
For my make-up, I’ve chosen a subtle palette of pinks in my eyeshadow and blush.
To me, Barbie has always been known for her silver pants and penchant for all things pink, so I wanted to reflect that in my outfit. It is equally important for me to maintain my personal style – so I’ve blended both elements to create a Y2K-inspired Barbie look that is truly my own.”
Daniel Boey, 57, fashion director
“Barbie, to me, has always signified fashion. She started off being the ideal woman I wanted to dress, and I would spend countless hours during class daydreaming and sketching out a Daniel Boey-designed Barbie’s wardrobe in my textbooks.
When I became a fashion director instead of a fashion designer, I worked with real-life Barbies and Kens in my runway shows, and began to appreciate the wide diversity of beauty.
That inclusivity has been the cornerstone of my work till today. We have our ideal Barbies and Kens we would’ve cast in our own movies, but I am excited to see (director) Greta Gerwig’s take.
My outfit is a re-imagining of the suit-and-hat look (a custom Versace ensemble recreating the 1985 Day-to-Night Barbie) that Robbie wore to the film’s premiere in Seoul.
My pink belted suit is from bespoke tailor Q Menswear and the sneakers are from Pangaia. I am accessorising with a hat I bought years ago and pearls which – fun fact – I share with my dog because we have almost the same neck size.”
Jackie Yoong, 39, senior curator of fashion and textiles at Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and Peranakan Museum
“Barbie brings back waves of childhood nostalgia for me, with especially strong memories of two loving aunts.
My childhood favourite in the 1990s was a winter Barbie gifted by my American aunt visiting Singapore. I felt this Barbie could expand her wardrobe to include clothes more reflective of our weather and culture, and so asked another aunt to sew simple tea dresses and kebaya for her.
ACM recently held a Barbie paper dress-making workshop this past weekend conducted by Jian Yang, inspired by the Andrew Gn exhibition on display.
It is encouraging to see Barbie Land become more diverse over the years, and I am looking forward to this movie having more Asian representation.
I’d be wearing a custom kebaya with gold star embroidery by Raymond Wong, and a tea dress from Our Second Nature. The gold star is inspired by a beautiful kerosang brooch in the Peranakan Museum collection, and I’m accessorising with an Andrew Gn A bag.
I believe in supporting Singaporean designers, and love the elegance of the kebaya from day to night. I am going in black-pink – I usually wear black, but got a pink dress for this occasion. After all, pink is the cardinal rule of Barbiecore.”
Illka Gobius, 55, managing director and chief executive of a public relations agency
“I actually never owned a Barbie doll myself, so my recurring memory of Barbie from childhood is envying my young girlfriends playing with the dolls.
I seem to be making up for it now – I’ll be attending a fund-raiser screening in support of Wild Rice at The Projector on July 20.
For my look, I got a Barbie name necklace and pink heart glasses from Amazon. My earrings and dress are from Zara, and my wig from a store in Far East Plaza.
My dress is a tribute to a Barbie Signature 1977 Superstar Doll, who is in a fabulous pink evening gown with a glittering ruffle boa. I took all my inspiration from the doll, including the hairstyle. I just chose a wig in a colour that suited me better.”
Becca D’Bus, 45, drag performer
“For many gay men, Barbies were the ultimate forbidden toy. She now represents so much of what is wrong with how we think of women, so for me, engaging with her can come only from a place of camp.
As a drag queen, I own a lot of pink from showing up at Pink Dot. This coat was made for me by Max Tan to wear to Hong Lim Park a number of years ago. The rest was made by me, including my gold ponytail made of synthetic horsehair.
The outfit was inspired by the most iconic Barbie to me – the one that wasn’t allowed to be. Her name was Ruby, and she was invented by The Body Shop (an advertisement campaign that challenged stereotypes of beauty at that time).
She was fat, naked and happy. I could do everything except the nudity, so I kept everything tight to feel extra doughy.
My boots are by Pleaser, available at Super Freak boutique.
We’re hosting a screening of the movie at The Projector on July 21 and 28 and Aug 4 – with drinking games and an afterparty. For that, I got my nails done in the most obnoxious pink.”
Sandra Cameron, 53, public relations consultant
“My dolls were off-limits to my younger brother, but he would still manage to sneakily stage them as ‘hostages’ when playing with his Big Jim dolls (a Mattel action figure toy).
I remember being fascinated by Barbie’s miniature accessories – mainly her shoes and bags. I still have some of them which I made into earrings. I did not care much about her cars or horses. All that mattered to me were her outfits.
I have a love-hate relationship with that doll. She has a totally unrealistic figure; I mostly only saw versions of her with blonde hair when I was a kid, so she did not represent me. Yet, she had the best wardrobe and could have the best jobs. I am looking forward to escaping to Barbie Land for two hours.
I’m going to watch the movie at The Projector as ‘Menopause Barbie’, which I made up. She knows who she is, has nothing to prove and can take all the space she wants in a society trying to make her invisible. She’s stylish but also needs to be comfortable, hence the fan – hello, hot flashes – and flat shoes from Vans.
I always try to make the most of whatever is in my wardrobe: a striped mesh top from Dries Van Noten and a second-hand pink skirt from H&M. The top is a reference to the 1959 original Barbie swimsuit, and the skirt is reminiscent of the evening gowns Barbie wears.
My earrings are also from H&M and I’ve added playful heart-shaped sunglasses from Mango and colourful shoes because it’s Barbie’s world. I love the contrast between the chic outfit and casual sneakers – it’s 100 per cent me without looking like I have a costume on.”
Wil Anthony S. Gutierrez, 34, assistant restaurant manager
“I grew up in a conservative family where girls play with girl toys, boys play with boy toys.
One of my fondest memories was when I first saw my sister’s Barbie and fell in love with her blonde hair, the cute outfit and heels. I would sneak into my sister’s room to play alone. It gave me so much joy.
I loved when Barbie and Ken appeared in Toy Story 3 (2010). I also love watching the 2012 animated series Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse – it was very comedic and light to watch.
For my outfit, I’m wearing something Ken would wear to a premiere – bold and dark-coloured so as not to compete nor outshine the main character. A touch of pink will do the trick, or even a basic tee with the iconic font or silhouette, to make a big impact.
My linen double-breasted suit and pants are from H&M’s conscious collection, and my Barbie tee is from Bershka. I’m pairing it with loafers from Gucci.
The Barbie movie gives me genuine happiness and hope that anything is possible. She is a true icon, and an inspiration to every little girl – and boy too.”