Meet: Barbie Movie's Costume Designer, Jacqueline Durran
Whether you stay up to date on viral internet trends, are a self-confessed film buff or simply just exist ATM - you’ll know it’s Barbie’s world and we’re just living in it!
With Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Barbie Movie finally skating its way to silver screen in the UK today, Barbie fever has turned cinemas nationwide a sweet-tooth-tingling shade of pink! Amongst the madness, we were so lucky to grab five minutes with Costume Designer for the film, the Academy Award-winning Jacqueline Durran.
We sat down with the lady herself, to talk translating contemporary themes through costume, hacks to dressing like Barbie to what it’s really like working with Greta Gerwig. Get ready for the inside scoop and wise words!
HEY JACQUELINE, CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO IN JUST FIVE WORDS?
No? Can’t shorten it enough…
HAHA, YOU MUST BE VERY BUSY! TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK BB (BEFORE BARBIE) AND HOW THAT BROUGHT YOU TO BARBIE LAND…
My very first costume design job was with the director Mike Leigh and I have continued to work with him for the past 20 years! It turns out that Greta Gerwig is a big Mike Leigh fan and when she was looking for a costume designer for Little Women my name popped up thanks to the celestial Venn diagram!
WHAT A WELCOME INTO THE WORLD OF GRETA! AS THE COSTUME DESIGNER FOR BARBIE, IF THERE’S ANYONE WHO CAN HELP US NAIL THE BARBIECORE AESTHETIC, IT’S YOU! TELL US, WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD THE WORDS “BARBIE MOVIE” WHICH STYLE REFERENCES IMMEDIATELY SPRUNG TO MIND?
It took a while to work out how to tackle such an iconic subject – Barbie could wear anything – what gave me the direction was the fact that the movie opens with 1959 Barbie in her black and white swimsuit so I decided to run with that starting point and try show a very short history of Barbie clothes through the movie – referencing favourite early 60s, 70s and 80s Barbie designs
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE CORRELATION BETWEEN TATTY DEVINE AND THE BARBIE AESTHETIC?
Tatty Devine is such bright, inventive, quirky, humorous plastic jewellery and has lots in common with Barbie’s bold and scaled-up jewellery (how else could small hands manage it).
OKAY, WE NEED THE LOWDOWN: WHAT ARE YOUR TWO GO-TO TIPS FOR STYLING OUR HANDMADE STATEMENT JEWELLERY?
I think a playful juxtaposition – a lobster accessory on the beach (it’s there somewhere…) and go bold... Barbie doesn’t follow Chanel’s rule - ‘when putting on accessories, take off the last thing you’ve put on’ – she adds another!
MORE REALLY IS MORE! WE’RE SO EXCITED TO DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THE FEMINIST TWIST TO THE FILM, CAN YOU REVEAL ANY SNEAK PEEKS ABOUT THE VERY CONTEMPORARY THEMES IN THE FILM? IF SO, HOW DID YOU TRANSLATE THIS INTO THE COSTUMES?
Greta’s script changed my idea of Barbie – I had never thought before of how revolutionary she was in getting girls to play with an adult doll – who works and has multiple roles – rather than a baby doll. I think the idea that Barbie dresses for the task she is doing or the party she is going to rather than for the male gaze is as feminist as it gets!
FROM LADYBIRD TO FRANCES HA, GRETA GERWIG IS THE FEMALE DIRECTOR FIRMLY ON OUR ‘LIKE, FOLLOW & SUBSCRIBE’ LIST, WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH HER?
I love Greta – but as she herself says – she nearly kills me every time! Her scripts are so packed with scenes with multiple characters in multiple costumes that just getting through a page can be weeks of work – and then she always thinks up more things at the last minute… luckily they are always worth it!
SO WORTH IT - WE LOVE THE DETAIL THAT GOES INTO EVERY SHOT! WHAT IS IT ABOUT GERWIG’S WORK THAT MAKES HER SUCH AN IMPORTANT FILMMAKER?
I think she is in the zeitgeist and knows what we want and need to see!
Time for some quickfire questions…
YOUR FAVOURITE LOOK IN BARBIE MOVIE?
Pink gingham dress and beach looks – it best encapsulates the idea that Barbie’s clothes for ‘a perfect day’ all come in a pack together and are interchangeable
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE SCENE IN THE FILM?
Perfect Day on the Beach
CAN YOU SHARE A TOP TIP FOR WANNABE COSTUME DESIGNERS?
Watch as many movies/tv shows as you can and think about the costume choices good and bad
WHAT’S YOUR EASY HACK FOR INCORPORATING BARBIECORE INTO OUR WARDROBES?
Colour on colour – and add the extra accessory! It’s never too much!
Ok that’s it! Thanks so much Jacqueline, we now feel fully confident in planning the best Barbie Movie-inspired look, perfect for hitting the ‘pink carpet’ at our local cinema to channel Costume Designer Barbie. On the hunt for that extra accessory? Head to our Barbiecore jewellery edit for the best of matching jewellery sets and saccharine sweet accessories - there may even be some oldness turned newness!
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