Ask Marni Senofonte, the Picasso behind Beyoncé’s iconic Lemonade and Formation World Tour looks, about her earliest memories of Barbie and she’ll say, “I remember cutting her hair.” She’ll also say, “I don’t remember how old I was. My parents were teenagers, and they had like no money. I just remember waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a stack of individually wrapped—maybe like 15—packages. My sister and I were so excited because my parents got us a whole bunch of Barbie clothes for us.” For the stylist and many other fashion creatives alike, Barbie is synonymous with the beginning of an unwavering love of fashion.
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“I think it was because I was able to express and kind of put Barbie into anything. Any kind of ribbon that I had, or whatnot, I would play around with and make her shoes strap all the way up to her thighs… [Barbie] was like the first kind of object that I was able to express [creativity] through clothing.” After a beat, Senofonte adds, “And I went to Catholic school. I had to wear a uniform my whole life, which was a nightmare for somebody like me. [Playing with Barbie] was a relief, it was therapy.”
Jump forward some years and you’ll find Senofonte creating looks for a myriad of frequently Best Dressed women. The newest name to her roster? It’s none other than the iconic Barbie, of course. Today, the highly-followed (we’re talking 1.7 million followers and counting) Instagram channel @BarbieStyle unveils the collaboration with Senofonte: a range of one-of-kind looks for a league of body, hair, and skin diverse fashion dolls.
Courtesy of Mattel
When asked about her inspiration for the designs, Senofonte references the Barbie Fashionistas line, a range of dolls offered in four varying body types (original, curvy, tall, and petite) and a multitude of skin tones and hairstyles, “When I saw all of these shapes and sizes—that alone was the inspiration. We have so many different sized women, and it’s like—especially the bigger women, they always feel like there’s nothing that fits them or makes them look cute. It was just so important to me with the Barbie collection to show a curvy woman or a shorter woman that it’s all possible.” And by it, she means making confident fashion choices. “I want a girl who is not necessarily small to say, ‘Okay, I could wear a crop top and I could wear jeans with big holes in it and fishnets underneath it and I am cute.' Everyone can have this. Everyone can do it. And everyone in every size—we can all be cute. It's not just for a certain size or a certain color.”
Courtesy of Mattel
One look at the @BarbieStyle Instagram channel, and it’s likely you’ll find an endless wealth of lifestyle and fashion inspiration. From #ootd flat-lays to selfies featuring Gigi Hadid in doll form, Barbie shows us an aesthetically rich life. Senofonte hypothesizes why the channel is so engaging, “It’s entertainment.” She shares with InStyle, “It’s living vicariously through someone. Seeing visual inspiration is so important.” So in addition to doctor, dancer, and president, you can add social influencer to Barbie’s resumé.
Oh, and thanks to the Barbie Fashionistas line and now the Marni Senofonte x Barbie collaboration, you can also add Advocate for Racial Diversity and Size Inclusivity to the list. Senofonte said it best, “We haven't even scratched the surface yet as to what it really should be, but the fact that Barbie is making it the norm is the first step. She's kind of always spearheaded the new norm.”
Though the dolls are not available for purchase at the moment, images of the full collection can be seen below or on the @BarbieStyle channel. From remixed denim silhouettes to ‘Victorian Punk’ looks reminiscent of Beyoncé’s Lemonade costumes, scroll through to see every single look and exclusive design sketches from the Marni Senofonte x Barbie range.