Barbie, Camp and Luxurious Vogue

Photograph: Warner Bros

Barbiecore was one of many high developments final yr, peaking in June when photographs of Australian actress, Margot Robbie, wearing sizzling pink as Barbie herself hit the web in anticipation of Greta Gerwig’s new Barbie film. The viral snaps of Robbie-Barbie preceded a 416% improve in on-line searches for pink clothes (Lyst, 2022), cementing Barbiecore’s place as a notable stand-alone style of trend in public consciousness.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling on set of Gerwig's Barbie film.
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling on the set of Gerwig’s Barbie. Photograph: Getty Pictures

This isn’t, nevertheless, Barbiecore’s first foray into mass trend. Hyper female, all pink and glitter-clad outfits have lengthy been a staple in Hollywood from as early because the flip of the twenty first century via the likes of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and, famously, Mark Waters’ cult-film — Imply Women. 

Photograph: Getty Pictures

In the case of the world of excessive trend, Pierpaolo Piccioli’s all-pink Fall 2022 assortment for Valentino first involves thoughts, inventing its personal shade of Pantone-certified pink — Pink PP. One can not overlook Jeremy Scott’s Barbie Summer time 2015 assortment for Moschino as effectively, which despatched down the runway fashions in immediately recognisable pink athleisure, comic-like blonde wigs and Rollerblade Barbie skates. The Moschino emblem was additionally re-stylised in Mattel’s trademark “Barbie” font, a hat-tip from one cultural icon to a different. 

Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo / Indigitalimages

The enduring fascination with Barbie should partially be attributed to its founder’s imaginative and prescient for feminine empowerment: “Barbie has all the time represented {that a} lady has selections,” wrote Ruth Handler in her memoir (Handler & Shannon, 1994). The Barbie doll’s endlessly configurable outfits had all the time been supposed by Handler to be a device for imaginative play, such that the participant could possibly be immersed in any profession or life-style they wished to play in. Barbie’s energy to undertake multiplex identities was socio-politically important for a time when girls weren’t allowed to do and even select a lot in any respect, and her legacy of the covert subversion of energy asymmetry has not been misplaced on the Barbie homage-payers of right now. 

Barbie Founder, Ruth Handler. Photograph: Everett Assortment

Styling Camp

Take for instance, the selection of styling in Gerwig’s Barbie. Teasers present a vibrantly cartoonish Barbie universe painted in  fairly pastels and neon accents of each shade of pink. Inhabitants of “Barbie Land” costume flamboyantly within the model of the 80s, marked dramatically by massive hair and heavy make-up. Between a cakey-faced Michael Cera as Allan smiling so exhausting it appears painful and a jealous, bare-chested and ice-blonde Ryan Gosling as one of many Kens posturing so stiffly that his joints mimic that of a doll, Gerwig’s Barbie is definitely a camp movie. 

Photograph: Warner Bros

Camp is many issues as Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, Notes on Camp, infamously factors out. But, as Sontag quips at level 58, “The final word camp assertion: it’s good as a result of it’s terrible”. To not say that Gerwig has achieved a nasty job, however relatively that camp doesn’t deal in good-bad binaries as a lot because it does the exaggerated and parodied — camp is essentially about caricatures. 

Photograph: Warner Bros

Based on Sontag, camp targets critical matters however can’t be taken significantly itself, exactly as a result of it seeks to destabilise what constitutes seriousness within the first place. Camp artwork is that which turns tragedy into comedy, sincerity into artifice, seriousness into frivolousness. 

Photograph: Dia Dipasupil/ FilmMagic

The style of camp therefore turns into a strong device for subversion, for caricatures have the distinctive capability to flip linear energy buildings on their heads. It’s no marvel that camp has traditionally been wielded by minority teams on the fringes, “small city cliques” which wanted to interrupt new floor with a view to make house for themselves — house which might not have existed in any other case (cf. the popularisation of drag queen tradition). 

Luxurious Co-opts Camp

The world of luxurious trend is not any exception to the attract of camp and is maybe a very good instance of the adage that camp could be seen in something, however not simply something could be camp. Vogue’s 2019 Met Gala tried its personal tribute in its “Camp: Notes on Vogue” exhibition. The occasion obtained a blended bag with the likes of movie actor Ezra Miller donning a Burberry half-suit-half-skirt with 7 eyes hooked up to his face and pop star Dua Lipa wearing teal, purple and lime inexperienced Versace paisley so vibrant it was disagreeable to have a look at. 

Photograph: Getty Pictures

Whereas some company’ made questionable makes an attempt at tenting, the excessive profile occasion enshrined camp’s standing as an influential pressure and fascinating sensibility to espouse in luxurious trend. These people who handle to realize the title of camp icon additionally develop into recognised as trend icons. Within the context of trend, it is because camp’s capability to destabilise lends itself to the facility to re-write what trend defines as stunning. On this vein, camp rids itself of the necessity to agree with what is taken into account stunning. Reasonably, for camp, the definition of what’s stunning – what’s alluring – turns into limitless. 

Photograph: Getty Pictures

Jeremy Scott, for one, is infamous for infusing parts of camp into luxurious trend throughout his decade-long tenure as Moschino’s inventive director. Between wrapping Gigi Hadid in a bouquet of flowers (SS18) and a pandemic puppet runway present (SS21), Scott exhibits off the facility of camp to disrupt trend by merely ignoring it, spawning as an alternative such extravagant artifice that it instructions consideration by advantage of its sheer frivolousness. 

Video: Youtube @moschino

Creating in between Actuality and Fantasy 

The remainder of luxurious trend has been taking part in catch-up, equally co-opting parts of camp in different features of the enterprise of luxurious trend. Camp’s love of artifice lends itself particularly effectively to digital advertising and marketing, the place the strains between what’s actual or CGI is usually blurred within the reality-resembling content material which floods our feeds.

Surrealist advertising and marketing has developed from development to business commonplace, with trend homes like Jacquemus setting the bar excessive this yr with a viral video of bus-sized variations of their Le Bambino luggage on wheels rolling down the busy streets of Paris. The bare eye can scarcely inform that the large luggage have been solely 3D renderings, immersing the viewer in a make-believe world. The French home additionally just lately transported its company by way of rowing boat to the Palace of Versailles for his or her Fall 2023 present the place they watched the present from the water, redefining what the expertise of luxurious trend can represent.

Photograph: Getty Pictures
The Beckhams at Jacquemus’ Fall 2023 present. Photograph: Pierre Suu/ WireImage

Different notable makes an attempt at surrealist advertising and marketing embrace Maybelline’s 3D-rendered big mascara brush video which confirmed big lashes hooked up onto buses and trains in London, operating into mascara brushes hooked up on the roof of practice tunnels and on the aspect of buildings to “brush” their lashes. 

Shifting Vogue Ahead

It will not be true that the way forward for luxurious trend is camp — it will not be camp to be so critical as to outline business main requirements, in spite of everything. Nonetheless, it will seem to be the identical spirit of extravagance and indulgent indifference to trying fairly is what trend is trying in direction of in reaching for its new frontier. As Sontag wrote, “Most individuals consider sensibility or style because the realm of purely subjective preferences… However this angle is naive. And even worse. To patronise the school of style is to patronise oneself. For style governs each free – versus rote – human response. Nothing is extra decisive.”

For extra trend tales, click on right here.


Handler, R. & Shannon, J. (1994). Dream Doll: The Ruth Handler Story, 43-44. Longmeadow Press.

Lyst (2022). Yr in Vogue 2022.

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