Written by Breck Hapner
What is Barbiecore? Well, it turns out that this is one bubbly pink design trend a homeowner can embrace when seeking inspiration for the next phase of their residential remodeling.
Much of the recent Barbiecore frenzy is the result of the popular new Barbie film, directed by Greta Gerwig, featuring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The staged cinematic return to an archetypal Mattel childhood is bright, shiny, slick, and youthful, motivating everyone in all industries to embrace pink design trends that are seen to be fabulous and liberating.
It’s all the entertaining and fashionable attributes of Barbie wrapped with an interior design bow. It’s a rose renaissance, a vivid splash of fuchsia to bury the boring brown fatalism of classical luxury home décor. Barbie has been resurrected into Barbiecore: hot, pink, and righteous home decorating.
Is fun and fashion a match made in heaven? Maybe. But you know how it is. The aesthetics of art, film, fashion, and home design have always maintained a kind of symbiotic integration, with one playing off another, to either create a completely new cultural trend, or to revive and reconfigure historical movements based upon breaking precedents.
We have seen this happen over and over, with revisionist tactics that take something old and spin it a new way. Any artist worth his salt will tell you that the idea is the most important thing, not necessarily the technical means behind the production. But Barbiecore isn’t simply about 1950s reminiscence or “next new thing” posturing: the design trend talks the talk, and walks the walk. Taste is one thing, but you don’t have to be RuPaul to think pink with your interiors.
It is all about the creator’s critical faculty. Personalization is key. Look at artists like Marcel Duchamp, or Andy Warhol, or filmmakers like John Waters or David Lynch, or designers like Valentino or Versace. The focus is on taking pop culture for a ride, to show the surface elements but then slowly dig below to display a greater truth. More crackle, more flash, more wow. Now that is art.
Barbiecore is about putting some real flesh around the plastic, disposing of fake synthetics for an interior design aesthetic that is joyous as well as substantive. The dolls can have artificial finishes, and imitation fabrics. The followers of Barbiecore have taken the classic maximalist approach, crafting statement pieces with gravitas, while retaining the sunny and whimsical tenets. It is an enigmatic juxtaposition, as traditional chintz has been elevated into Hollywood royalty.
Timeless past designs are trending. Core spatial fashions are favoring experimentation and reinvention with color, form, and pattern. Barbiecore is successful because it encourages the resurgence of both classic and retro décor styles within the home. After being trapped inside during the Coronavirus lockdowns, people are moving away from earthen, neutral palettes toward golden bubblegum hues and fiery rouge shades to accent rooms. Light and fluffy, these textured accents instill a sense of opulence and vitality that serves to enhance the living atmosphere.
The daydream, or the fantasy, morphs into reality. Because established staples breed tedium, people need to escape and challenge themselves, especially within their own habitats. Cornerstone furnishings can become symbols of oppression, signaling a fundamental urge to recapture the enthusiasm and playfulness offered by the implementation of fresh décor. Change becomes a celebration, which is no surprise to students of design and lovers of fashion.
While most homeowners will not engage in a Barbiecore full-frontal assault, many will choose certain rooms, selections of furniture, and specific objects and/or accessories to incorporate flavored pink presence. Some will (no doubt) be over the top, while others will retain a more understated approach. From pale blush to juicy berry tones, Barbiecore is ultimately versatile, supplying many colors and shades that provide options when building home décor repertoires.
There are already an extensive number of engagement tools and décor choices available. From Balmain NFTs to Forever21 promotional items to websites like Chairish that feature entire Barbiecore product sections, there has been an explosion of regalia, accent ornaments, and statement pieces made available to the pink-preening public for interior design projects. To use a cliché, the sky’s the limit, as long as creative choices are driven by imagination.
Many design experts working within the Barbiecore trend recommend the installation of voluptuous, curvy furniture, aligned with multiple pink hues, and floral velvet fabrics adorned with gold textured accents to create an equanimous mixture of modern and retro styling. Think of large, colorful pieces, favored as furniture statements, set off by glitter wallpaper and thick purple shag carpeting. Subtle touches can include vintage linens, towels, throws, lampshades, and posters, all brought together and unified through the use of a pastel aesthetic.
Now you know. The faint-hearted peddling of the quaint has been locked away. Today’s hot pink incarnations represent the glamorous pleasure of nostalgia, paired with the restored freedom to grow beyond boundaries imposed by the pandemic. The Barbiecore philosophy has taken over the mainstream as a luxurious postscript in our sometimes-gloomy postmodern world.
The Barbiecore trend is an energy shift, an exuberant portal paying homage to home trends that unflinchingly follow fashion, drawing upon decades of styling. So, Barbiecore is not meant to literally represent the conveyances of the doll, but rather, imbue interior designs with transformative qualities necessary to upgrade interior spaces in a bold way.
Therefore, relax, and drift back to a moment when responsibilities were far and in-between, and every morning was devoted to the happiness brought by decorating your dream house. Maybe (yes, quite possibly) the scale of your interior design ambitions are larger, but remember, it’s all about the art.