Mattel this week announced the launch of an unprecedented partnership between the Barbie brand and French luxury fashion label, Balmain. Developed as a celebration of both Barbie and Balmain’s combined impact on fashion and greater culture, the two brands are launching a new global ready-to-wear fashion and accessories collection.
The venture also marks the first time Barbie is entering the digital art world. Together, the two entities are dropping three one-of-a-kind NFTs of distinctive Barbie and Ken avatars. Styled in complete looks from Balmain’s designs, each is accompanied by a one-of-a-kind bespoke set of Barbie-sized Balmain pieces, creating a unique digital and physical art collection.
These Barbie x Balmain NFTs will be available exclusively through MattelCreations, via an online auction hosted on mintNFT, guaranteeing buyers a unique place in fashion history as it moves into the virtual realm.
Barbie, with over 62 years of history, is a globally recognized influence and arbiter in the worlds of fashion and pop culture, creating an intersection between the brand, art and collectability. In 2020, Mattel launched MattelCreations, an e-commerce platform that connects Barbie—and Mattel’s catalog of IP—with a network of global makers to produce limited-edition creations where toys are a canvas for art, and art is inspired by toys. With the rapid expansion of the metaverse, Mattel Creations has become especially resonant in the virtual space and is an exciting new platform for digital art deliveries.
“Together, Barbie and Balmain are creating a new chapter in the legacy of the toy and fashion industries,” says Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mattel. “As a fashion house committed to innovation in unexpected and joyous ways, Balmain, under Olivier Rousteing’s creative direction, is the perfect partner to translate the iconography that is unique to Barbie into a modern iteration of digital art and physical fashion.”
The Barbie x Balmain ready-to-wear and accessories line takes the established aesthetic and opulence that Rousteing has so successfully built up over the past decade and filters it through a Barbie lens. From a nostalgic 1990s-era Barbie logo to a “Barbie pink” Pantone to Barbie’s iconic packaging, Rousteing and the Balmain teams’ 50+ piece collection intertwines the toy’s signatures with the label’s hallmarks, like its marinière and Labyrinth patterns. Barbie and Balmain share a penchant for bright, optimistic iconography, and here, they come together in a balanced and wearable homage to the ebullient legacies of both.
“As our campaign images make very clear, Barbie and Balmain are embarking upon a distinctly multicultural, inclusive and always joy-filled adventure,” notes Olivier Rousteing. “For this collaboration, we are building upon the New French Style of Balmain’s most recent collections, once again showing that Balmain is inspired by the truly diverse and exciting beauty found on today’s Parisian boulevards and avenues. This collection also rejects any arbitrary gender limitations—this is an almost 100% unisex collection. For, just as today’s Barbie makes clear, there’s nothing holding us back anymore!”
To mark the partnership, Barbie and Balmain have a launched digital campaign, which depicts the ready-to-wear and accessories collection on Barbie avatars. The promotion was conceptualized and styled by Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall and photographed by Norbert Schoerner.
For more information on the Barbie x Balmain collaboration and to join the Barbie x Balmain mintNFT fireside chat on 1/11, visit NFT.MattelCreations.com. The Barbie x Balmain ready-to-wear and accessories line will be available for purchase at Balmain stores, balmain.com, Mattel Creations and retailers worldwide beginning Jan. 13.