Barbie has had a lot of careers in her sixty-year existence, including lawyer, doctor and architect. But now she can add astromech droid, Rebel Leader and Sith Lord to her undoubtedly expansive resume, thanks to Mattel's new line of Star Wars-inspired Barbie figures.
The Star Wars and Barbie collaboration is intended to be an homage to Star Wars: A New Hope. Inspired by original concept art for A New Hope, the collection re-images the franchise's iconic characters through a Barbie high-fashion filter. This isn't the first time Barbie has braved the stars, but it does mark the classic toy's inaugural foray into a galaxy far far away.
"While these details are interesting and relevant to the characters in the narrative related to the films, when you're creating a look 'inspired by,' the purpose is to capture the essence of the character and include notable details," said Robert Best, designer for the Barbie Star Wars line. "Then, it becomes more about what the costume and its narrative purpose represents emotionally, and finding a way to convey that through fashion."
Each of the dolls has a distinctive and vibrant look, more of a creative reimagining of the aesthetics of Star Wars: A New Hope than a literal analog or pastiche. This isn't Barbie in cosplay; these outfits employ the same design characteristics commonly associated with runway models.
The first figure features an R2-D2 tribute, assembled from thigh-high boots and a bomber jacket as well as a dress emblazoned with the astromech droid's signature details. Splashes of blue on the doll's hair and over the right eye end the color story with an exclamation point, reflecting the character's laser-like focus and the playful mix of retro-futurist sensibilities that inform the concept art of the first film in the franchise.
Next is potentially the most shocking and radical of the set: Darth Vader. Mattel's take on the infamous Sith Lord eschew's the traditional breather mask in exchange for a pair of ferocious sunglasses, punctuated with lightsaber red lipstick. Barbie Vader rocks a corset and form-fitting skirt as well as a pair of sleek and shiny boots.
Last but not least is Barbie's vivacious realization of Princess Leia. Mattell could have settled for mimicking her classic design, but instead rose above with an inspired interpretation of the character concept. All of Leia's classic traits are on display: her hair buns arc out in a sweeping up-do suggestive of impressionistic science fiction art, and her gown is long and sweeping, with sleeves that reach the floor and glimmering jewelry.
The line comes just weeks after Mattel announced Barbie takes on celebrated ladies from the X-Men franchise and even Mad Men. Only time will tell if this indicates a new long term trend. The Barbie Star Wars line is available for pre-order at $100 per figure, and will be ready for shipment on Nov. 18th.