One of South Africa’s most beloved designers who has dressed the likes of Cardi B, Zozi Tunzi and Natasha Joubert is now dressing his smallest model with one of the biggest names. Gert-Johan Coetzee has teamed up with Barbie in a collection dubbed ‘Barbie Loves Gert’, and the looks and showcasing embrace everything from body-size inclusivity to genders and culture.
31 looks compromise the collection – which isn’t just for the dazzling doll either, and one of the couture dresses even took 50 hours.
The collection, which dances along the gorgeous thread of couture street and ready wear, sparkles with South African flair.
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According to Coetzee:
“I wanted Barbie to experience South Africa to its fullest by integrating an array of South African cultural elements to the collection.”
The gown that stole the show encapsulates this South African cultural influence in detail. From the shade of pink that draws inspiration from the Pedi culture, to the Zulu-adorned geometric patterns, the tiny replica gown makes a large statement that shines a light on the art of the Rainbow Nation’s cultural melting pot. The gown is a sparkling homage to diversity and is decorated with more than 3 000 rhinestone crystals and pearls.
The actual gown itself was made of more than 40 meters of bright pink tulle ruches as per Business Insider.
Other looks from the collection worn by actual models echo the pedi pink print, detailed Xhosa drawn bead-work, cerise peacock feather fuss and slick black silhouettes.
According to Scott Hobson, the Country Manager of Mattell South Africa (the toy making giant of Barbie) :
“As the most diverse fashion doll in the market with over 170 different diverse looks, shapes and sizes, Barbie continues to show the impact of representation and we are absolutely honoured and inspired to be working with South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee whose work embodies these values.”
“The Barbie collection was inspired by the diversity of South Africa,” says Coetzee. “Barbie has collaborated with designers many times but I really wanted the African interpretation to stand out. When people look at the collaboration from around the world they must really feel inspired by the diversity of Africa, the richness of our culture and the beauty of our men and women.”
15 ready to wear items can be purchased from Coetzee’s website. As for the couture, items can be made for order for anyone who wants to relish in an updated, SA-infused, gorgeous ‘Barbie World.’
Picture: Marc Gregory