Gone are the days when Barbie dolls were largely blonde, blue-eyed, representative of narrow definitions of beauty and made in unrealistic proportions. The star doll now is enjoying new collaborations that celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of each person. The latest to date? A partnership between the Mattel brand and the activist make-up artist Sir John, who has worked with Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls and Soo Joo Park, among others.
Under Sir John’s brush, Barbie has been completely transformed, adopting some of Sir John’s most iconic looks. The makeover was designed to be easily reproduced at home, for those who would like to copy the doll’s new style.
“Barbie is the ultimate muse. Her evolution and range of representation is so inspiring to me. With this editorial, we’re able to showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and celebrate the uniqueness of individuals,” said Sir John on Barbie’s Instagram.
From European stereotype to more diverse representations
Contrary to what one might think, Barbie is no longer (only) the young blue-eyed blonde that we have known for decades. Over the years, her hair palette has expanded (brunette, red, light brown) as did her features to go beyond European traits. But Mattel’s intention to open up to diversity really solidified in the past few years, with infinite possibilities of skin color, body shapes and a multitude of hair colors and hairstyles.
For instance, Mattel recently unveiled Barbies with the skin condition vitiligo, in wheelchairs, with shaved heads and sporting prosthetic legs. This commitment to more diversity continues with the Sir John collaboration. He designed, for instance, looks for dolls with frizzy, braided, white and even no hair, accented by his signature beauty touches.
“My hope for this project is to inspire new and exciting beauty trends through the lens of Barbie,” concluded Sir John. RGA