There is a new unexpected NFT and fashion pairing that wraps in technology with a trending Y2K style, sprinkled with nostalgia that both calls back to the 90s and leaves us thinking about the future.
Upon first look, maybe the pairing appears surprising to some, but Balmain and Barbie are a match made in the metaverse (and ready-to-wear). The pairing is perfectly meshed because Barbie, at her core, is the pinnacle of fashion. She is a fashion doll, but has also made waves in the digital world.
In throwback Barbie movies, she made an appearances in Nutcracker Barbie Swan Lake and others. These movies have had a resurgence in popularity as fan favorites. Barbie is an animated 3D model of herself in these features–a not-too-distant cousin of this new launch, manifested in three one-of-a-kind NFTs.
Pink, Pink, and More Pink
The physical collection is blatantly pink. The mostly-singular color palette and monochrome is on-brand for Barbie. The signature Pantone tint, “Barbie pink,” is highly featured in the ready-to-wear collection. “Pink is the color that perfectly aligns with the modern Balmain Army’s bold spirit,” reads a quote from the Balmain website.
The decades of Barbie’s influence and the girls who grew up with her now span multiple generations, including Gen-Z. Barbie blends the fuzzy feeling of nostalgia and the new digi-fashion age with ease.
“As our campaign images make very clear, Barbie and Balmain are embarking upon a distinctly multicultural, inclusive and always joy-filled adventure,” notes Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. “For this collaboration, we are building upon the New French Style of Balmain’s most recent collections, once again showing that Balmain is inspired by the truly diverse and exciting beauty found on today’s Parisian boulevards and avenues. This collection also rejects any arbitrary gender limitations—this is an almost 100% unisex collection. For, just as today’s Barbie makes clear, there’s nothing holding us back anymore!”
Mattel is Becoming an NFT Machine
The classic resigns hearken back to the 90’s, including Balmain logos that are created with emblematic Barbie typology. Mattel is no stranger to a digital launch.
The toy giant has already jumped on the deep and growing potential of NFTs, having launched collections for Hot Wheels and Uno, the card game. They have carved themselves out as experts in the collector’s sphere and pioneers in the digital space.
Both the Hot Wheels NFT collection and the Balmain x Barbie NFT collection were auctioned on proof-of-stake blockchain systems, making them less energy-intensive and pre-empting potential sustainability questions.
The Barbie x Balmain collection debuts three one-of-a-kind NFTs of Barbie and Ken. The NFTs are blank slates on which outside artists are able to display their work on Mattel Creations, an online platform. The dolls are dressed in various pieces from the collection. The highest bidders will also receive a physical set of doll-sized Balmain clothing. The bids started at $2000 each.
Three Barbie avatars were created in collaboration with FORGET ME NOT GMBH. They will be sold at auction and each accompany a physical Barbie model. In an instagram post featuring a Ken doll in a pink suit, the caption reads, “Thank you for the trust,” where they tagged Balmain, Mattel, and other designers. User @mintNFT commented: “So amazing ❤️ thank you for your artistry”.
The NFTs will be up for sale on Mint NFT. Described as “a premium studio & marketplace for non-fungible tokens that makes collecting NFTs simple, safe and social,” the platform is set to launch an app. On their website, they emphasize providing fans with a way to engage directly with artists and creators, so that every new launch drop can become a new, exciting interactive experience.
“The company is focused on delivering an unprecedented experience for users with unique features such as exclusive digital events, a new patent-pending authentication process for NFTs, and incorporating a social score to each NFT. The interactive and gamified platform includes a secondary marketplace that allows users to buy, sell, and trade NFTs.”
Balmain, Barbie, and…..Neiman Marcus?
The launch of Balmain x Barbie digital creations also come with a collection of physical fashion on display in Texas. Balmain celebrates their 10-year-relationship between retailer Neiman Marcus with a 2,000-square-foot installation on the ground floor of the NorthPark Center store in Dallas, TX. The showcase uses the ready-to-wear collection as a pop-up display.
“Not only do our Neiman Marcus customers naturally gravitate toward pink, but post-pandemic we have seen that happy colors and unique, one-of-a-kind collaborations have generated a lot of interest,” Lana Todorovich, President and Chief Merchandising officer of Neiman Marcus said in an interview. “Pink makes perfect sense for a collaboration with Barbie and happens to be one of the bestselling colors”.
The physical collection and NFT launch is a sweet blend of different customer bases in the physical world and the digital.
“We view the collector space as being ready for innovation, and fashion and toys together are going to be a whole new business. The pandemic has showed us that the human need to ‘play’ at every age is very real, and we don’t see that letting up,” says Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mattel. “The passion for our brands has always been uniquely ageless, which gives us a runway to deliver our brands in fun, reimagined ways for adult fans.”