Barbie movie. Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie.

Oscar Costume Design Nominees 2024: Jacqueline Durran for Barbie

Jacqueline Durran 

Jacqueline Durran with her Oscar award 

Durran is an Academy Award winning British costume designer whose memorable work we know from such projects as Pride & Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2007), Anna Karenina (2012), Macbeth (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Little Women (2019) and, of course, Barbie (2023), which we will be discussing today (spoilers ahead)! Thus far, she has received nine Academy award nominations (winning 2 for Anna Karenina and Little Women), ten BAFTA award nominations (winning three) and five CDG award nominations (winning one).

Barbie movie Margot Robbie blue playsuit

She teamed up for a second time with Greta Gerwig, to design the costumes for Barbie. As Barbie is a fashion doll, clothing is integral to how children play with her. As such, the costumes of the film were going to be front and centre. Jacqueline spoke with Vogue about the process:

“You don’t treat Barbie like you treat a regular character because the motivation for what she’s wearing isn’t from within.”

“It’s about being completely dressed for your job or task.”

Barbie movie Margot Robbie pink gingham swimsuit

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie pink gingham swimsuit

The beach was one of the main settings for Gerwig’s film, so the essence of Malibu Barbie (debuting in 1971) was a key inspiration. Durran didn’t want to do a direct copy of the doll’s clothes; she drew from the 50s and 60s, with Brigitte Bardot acting as an influence. The gingham dress and swimsuit Margot wears at the beginning of the film alluded to the idea that Barbie clothing comes as part of a pack which includes shoes, accessories and variations for different activities. The gingham was inspired by Bardot’s penchant for the pattern, as well as the Suburban Shopper Barbie sundress from the original release and the Dancing Doll Barbie from 1965.

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie pink gingham dress

Suburban Shopper Barbie 1959Dancing Doll Barbie 1965

For another beach scene, Margot's costume seems to be inspired by the blue and white nautical themed Yacht Club fashion packs from the 80s and 90s.

Barbie Margot Robbie Yacht Club costume

Durran said that the costumes in Barbie Land fit into specific colour combinations inspired by a French Riviera beach in the early 60s. “I had buyers going out every day looking for clothes in specific colors in every shop in London,” says Durran. Her team had 11 weeks to make everything and they were still building as the camera rolled. 

Jacqueline Durran Barbie costume sketch for dance scene

For the ‘Best Party Ever’ scene, Durran asked Mattel designer Kim Culmone to send her references of every white or gold party outfit ever made for Barbie. From that, she chose a selection of looks and had interpretations of them made, which Durran says created a “representation of the history of Barbie in one scene”. 

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie gold party jumpsuit

Margot's outfit seems to be a recreation of Golden Dream Barbie from 1980 and it's modern 'Superstar Forever' iteration. 

Golden Dream Barbie and the Superstar Forever Golden Dream Barbie

Ken, of course, doesn’t get as much attention and the Kens’ white looks at the party were inspired by just one Ken doll outfit from the 1970s, originally in navy. 

Barbie movie Ken jumpsuits

Buyers sourced and imported a plethora of colourful 80s sportswear for all the Ken’s, who were always matched with Barbies’ outfits. 

One outfit Durran did faithfully recreate exactly from the doll was the original Barbie black and white swimsuit, which appeared in the epic opening scene of the film. 

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie black and white swimsuit

The exciting first-look paparazzi shots from the film were of Barbie and Ken skating in Venice beach wearing matching neon skating outfits. These costumes were closely adapted from 1994’s Skatin’ Hot Barbie, with a textile artist recreating the exact textile pattern originally used for the doll’s clothing. Durran wanted showy, eye-catching costumes that would pop in this scene as there are already so many unusual characters typically on Venice Beach that she wanted Barbie and Ken to stand out from. 

Barbie Movie, Margot Robbie & Ryan Gosling, Skatin' Hot Barbie 1994

Skatin' Hot Barbie 1994

For the now-famous Wild West outfits, Durran had difficulty tracking down the right pink denim and ended up using a stretch fabric that they then printed a denim texture onto! There were some cowgirl Barbie’s over the years but none that seem to have directly inspired this design. The western looks are a reference to Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969) as they walk through New York. 

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie pink western cowgirl outfit

Midnight Cowboy

Margot Robbie wore 4 Chanel outfits in the film as she has been their ambassador since 2018.

Barbie Margot Robbie Chanel

Durran had also worked with them on multiple films in the past. They sent a lot of 1980s pieces as that was the era in which Greta Gerwig played with Barbie dolls. They also remade archival pieces in colours suited to the film. Margot wore a 90s Chanel suit from Karl Lagerfeld’s Barbie themed 1995 collection, which was modelled by Claudia Schiffer at the time.

Barbie movie, Margot Robbie in pink Chanel suit

Claudia Schiffer, Chanel 1995, Barbie movie

One of the best looks is the fully accessorized pink coco beach dress with a statement necklace from the same 1995 collection, which Barbie Margot wears when she comes knocking on Ken’s mojo dojo casa house.

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie pink Chanel coco beach dress

Barbie Movie Margot Robbie Chanel necklace

Chanel necklace Barbie

Ryan Gosling wore a custom made Chanel ski suit (to match Margot's) in the film, which was notable because Chanel don’t do menswear!

Ryan Gosling Barbie movie Chanel ski suit

In one of the final scenes of the movie, after the Barbie’s gain back control of Barbie Land, all of the Barbie’s are dressed in contemporary outfits that represent the actor playing the Barbie. For Ana Cruz Payne, she wore a dress with Filipino Terno sleeves, nodding to her heritage. All of the actors had input into what they wanted to represent in that scene. 

Barbie movie, Ana Cruz Payne in Filipino dress

Margot is wearing a yellow dress as a nod to the most popular Barbie doll outfit of the past 10 years, which isn't recognizable to most of us. Durran designed it to be softly cut, which isn't something a Barbie doll would typically wear, to signify her transition to becoming human. 

Barbie movie Margot yellow dress

One of the main objectives behind the costumes of the film was that they should spark joy for viewers. That objective was certainly accomplished!

Barbie movie costumes

Durran has been nominated for a Best Costume Design Academy Award for Barbie at this years’ Oscars, happening March 10th. Let us know in the comments what you think of Durran's work on this film!

Last Summer, we put together an elaborate edit of 30 different historical Barbie looks, styled using our vintage sales stock. You can see the looks we created HERE.

Additionally, If you're still digging those Barbie core vibes, you can check out our Barbie core collection edit HERE

We recommend checking out stylist Andrew Mukamal's work as he was responsible for all of Margot Robbie's amazing Barbie inspired press tour looks. He has a book coming out on the very subject in the coming months!

Interviews referenced and articles used in researching this post:

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.