Inspirations and Echoes in the Barbie Film

Hello fellow Doll Fans!

By now I’m sure you have seen the new Barbie movie. I thought it was okay, not great. I paid more attention to the fashions than the storyline! I looked for familiar outfits and dolls. Now these are just my opinions of what might have been the dolls, fashions playsets, etc. that might have inspired the costume designers.I am not including outfits worn by Margot Robbie at the film premieres.

Let’s start with what I consider a success: Midge’s purple dress look.

Here the film costume designers have made changes. Their goal isn’t to make a direct copy and I get that. Costume designers, film makers are what I would call “creatives” (unlike myself). They want to put their own style, or stamp, on their work. I would have preferred as exact a copy as possible but that’s not what we got. There is enough though to make this dress and actor instantly recognizable as this version of Midge. A shade of lavender background, floral pattern, empire style waist, v-neck and 3/4 sleeves.

Mystery white dress doll in the “Weird Barbie House”

Who is she? The image on the left is a screengrab from YouTube channel @JoBloMovieClips.They tag Mattel in the description so I’m assuming this is authorized by Mattel, but if not please let me know. My first thought when I saw this was 1991’s Wedding Day Midge! Or maybe one of her Trousseau Fashion Packs. The red hair certainly fit! But when I got home and looked at my old Mattel Catalogs it wasn’t there! Then I thought maybe Heart Family mom or one of her fashion packs.The drop waist, length and shoulder pads certainly are reminiscent of 1985 first edition Heart Family Mom (she never did get a name). But the dress color and hair color, length and style are all wrong. There’s a closer match to her 1986 Fashion pack Valentine Dress item number 2627 in terms of background color, but White Dress Doll (my name for her) doesn’t have the rose pattern.The best possible “inspiration” in my opinion for this dress is actually Heart Family Grandma, the color is lighter than Heart Family Mom’s intro dress, and it has a subtle pattern on the skirt, although it’s floral, not striped. My suggestion if you are trying to recreate this look, or at least give the same feel, is Grandma Heart Family introductory dress on Wedding Day Midge doll.

The film isn’t available on any streaming service yet, so I’m using screen grabs from the trailers that are available, and the pictures put out by Mattel through, the official Barbie facebook page, and When there aren’t any publicly available images, I will just use a description of the scene.

Tell me if you agree or if I missed anything by sending me email at barbiereference [at] gmail [dot] com.

I am adding more to this article as I have time. Like many responsible adults with an expensive hobby I have a full-time job and sell some of my finds and collectibles online to make ends meet and keep up my hobby!