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The new Balmain x Barbie collection signals that toys could be the next high fashion frontier.

Jan 13 2022

The new Balmain x Barbie collection signals that toys could be the next high fashion frontier. And just like that, the first high fashion collab of 2022 is here: Balmain’s 50-piece Barbie-inspired collection designed for nostalgic grown ups (a.k.a. Millennial parents). No toys are involved, just unisex fashion bringing Mattel’s Barbie persona to life via racially diverse avatars serving as models for the collection. Three NFTs of one-off looks (which will also come with a physical, doll-size version) will also be auctioned online. Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, explains the collection comes from an emotional space: As a kid, Rousteing grew up playing with Barbies and experienced “some rejection for it” since he didn’t fit into the identity of who Barbies were “meant” for at the time (a.k.a. little girls). Rousteing describes the project as his “small revenge,” noting, “Barbie represents a joyful dream. There’s nothing wrong with a dream. But let’s push the dream and not the dream of the 1950s or 1960s, but 2022.” YPulse’s Playtime trend research shows how brands have been putting a new spin on some of Millennials’ childhood favorites to reach families and nostalgic consumers alike, and Barbie’s high fashion collab is a first of its kind—at least for now. (NYT)