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Brief Published: 1 Dec 2014

Barbie’s Fashion Moment

Jeremy Scott's Barbie collection for Moschino S/S 15

British designer Jeremy Scott brought the iconic Barbie doll and her bubble-gum pink, plastic lifestyle under the spotlight in his S/S 15 catwalk collection during Milan fashion week, reminding the fashion and beauty industry to lighten up in the face of economic and social struggles. Millennial consumers are enraptured.

In response to the bland seriousness advocated by the ubiquitous ‘normcore’ trend, Scott’s Barbie doll model army revealed the opportunities to inject fun and humour into serious times, providing an uplift for consumers and sparking positive emotional responses that enhance consumer engagement. His Spring/Summer 2015 collection for Moschino saw models donning head-to-toe Barbie-pink outfits, accompanied by doll-like hair and make-up styling, token rollerblades, and handheld mirrors (iPhone cases).

Scott’s popular reinvention of the Italian luxury fashion house is steeped in fun, quirkiness and accessibility; his first show celebrated fast-food giant McDonald’s, and his latest perfume launch is packaged in a miniature teddy bear. This aesthetic appeals to a new market of luxury-consuming millennials – according to global strategy consultancy Kelton Global, millennial luxury spending is forecast to outstrip baby boomers from 2018.

Moschino released a capsule collection in September 2014 to cater for the brand’s impatient millennial market. It sold out in seconds, with style influencers and celebrities like Instagram star Chiarra Ferragni and Paris Hilton showcasing the collection’s wearability on social media. Beauty bloggers such as Binky Felstead – a star from the popular Made In Chelsea reality TV show in the UK – also posted Barbie make-up tutorials to achieve the doll’s high-shine plastic look and ultra-glam big hair.

Other brands were quick to jump on the rolling success of Scott’s collection. US fashion retailer Wildfox launched a Resort 14 Dreamhouse collection, showcasing Barbie’s signature pink, feminine, and sporty look in a fun, all-American line splashed with the Mattel-owned logo, and scented in sunscreen and cotton-candy fragrances.

For Barbie doll manufacturer Mattel, the attention will continue to open up many retail opportunities over the coming year as consumers’ appetite for fun, funny, even nostalgic fashion grows. See how other luxury brands are tapping into humour to attract millennial consumers in Haute Humour and Sticker Fun for Millennials