IN PICS | Barbie gets SA street cred as designer Gert-Johan Coetzee dresses the iconic doll

10 November 2021 - 19:08
Barbie is getting new clothes, designed by SA's own Gert-Johan Coetzee.
Barbie is getting new clothes, designed by SA's own Gert-Johan Coetzee.
Image: SUPPLIED

One of SA's most renowned designers, Gert-Johan Coetzee, will collaborate with one of the world's most iconic fashion dolls, Barbie.

The “Barbie Loves Gert” collection comprises 31 looks and celebrates the uniqueness of South Africans. All genders, sizes and cultures are represented in the work by Coetzee, and the models who walk in the show reflect Coetzee’s commitment to diversity.

The collaboration was announced on Wednesday evening. 

“I wanted Barbie to experience SA to its fullest by integrating an array of South African cultural elements into the collection. Striking pink from the Pedi culture is complemented by geometric patterns inspired by the Zulu culture.

“South African beadwork in black and white, I took inspiration from the Xhosa culture, I wanted this collection to encapsulate a truly South African experience,” said Coetzee.

The clothing collection includes both couture and ready-to-wear items. The 15 ready-to-wear items from the collection will be available on Coetzee’s website for purchase and couture items can be made to order.

“As the most diverse fashion doll in the market with more than 170 diverse looks, shapes and sizes, Barbie continues to show the impact of the representation and we are absolutely honoured and inspired to be working with South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee whose work embodies these values”, said Scott Hobson, country manager of Mattel SA. 

The collaboration was led with Blue Horizon Licensing, Mattel’s official brand licensing partner in SA and a key partner in producing this collaboration.

As part of the Barbie Loves Gert collection, Coetzee describes his finale piece as a “one-of-a-kind gown”. Even in doll size, he said, “it’s absolute haute couture”.

More than 3,000 genuine rhinestone crystals and pearls were manually applied to the fabric to create the replica for Barbie. The dress is made of more than 40m of bright pink tulle ruches and the entire construction took more than 50 meticulous hours to create. 

“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,” said Coetzee.

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