Esmod Fashion Design Students Take on Barbie, Ken

Miles Socha
·1 min read

POWER DRESSING: Famous designers aren’t the only ones who get to officially dress Barbie and Ken: Eighty students at French fashion school Esmod were invited to compete for the best outfit.

Twenty winners were recently selected by a jury consisting of fashion journalists, Mattel France employees, Esmod reps and executives from Dior, Celine and Lacoste.

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The top prize went to Éloïse Berche for her period-influenced, boyish ensemble of culottes, puffy blouse and suspenders with pagoda shoulder extensions. The look by second-prize winner Camille Despinasse was a little bit country — a frothy, pink linen dress and homespun sweater — while third-place winner Agathe Garnier’s look was a little bit rock ‘n’ roll: a black tailcoat with golden details over slim trousers.

Kim Culmone, vice president of design at Mattel Inc., which created Barbie in 1959, awarded Fanny Bonnet the Barbie Style award for her “goddess warrior” look: a filmy, harness-like coat trailing over a velvet tube dress and thigh boots.

Véronique Beaumont, managing director of the school, lauded the diversity of the proposals and the innovative, empowering looks. Esmod offers Fashion Business, Fashion Design and International Luxury Management programs, and its famous alumni include Olivier Rousteing, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Reem Acra, Alexandre Vauthier and Damir Doma.

California-based Mattel began collaborating with fashion designers on limited-edition Barbies in the ‘80s. Recent projects include a trio of collectible looks by Berluti to mark Ken’s 60th birthday, and what was billed as the first CGI Mattel dolls by Rousteing for Balmain, who put both Barbie and Ken in pink pagoda-shouldered suits.

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