New Día de Muertos Barbie and Ken Dolls Have Been Released
In recent years, Mattel has released a diverse set of Barbie dolls representing a spectrum of cultures. As a response to the criticism that Barbie dolls have, in the past, reinforced unhealthy stereotypes about women, in addition to most of the dolls being white, Mattel has done a great job of rectifying that and making a Barbie for everyone with initiatives like the Role Models collection.
Their selection of dolls from the Latin American diaspora alone is impressive, with dolls inspired by women from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and more. They’ve also created a number of specialized dolls representing Frida Kahlo and Cinco de Mayo. However, this year, Mattel is releasing a new set of Día De Muertos Barbie and Ken dolls, calacas and all, after introducing the design in 2019.
According to Hola, the new designs are a result of the collaboration between Barbie designer Javier Meabe and fashion designer Benito Santos, who made sure that the new dolls were distinct from the collection last year, while still preserving the spirit of the Día De Muertos collection.
The new dolls are being sold at most online retailers, including Mattel’s official website, and each one will run you about 80 dollars, a small price to pay when you realize the 2019 editions are going for nearly 1,500 dollars on Ebay. The Mattel website also has the 2021 editions for sale on their website, currently priced at 75 dollars.
For this year’s collection, Meabe did his best to steer the designs in a new direction. “I worked very closely with our Latin American partners. I wanted the design to be full of vibrant colors and artwork,” he told H. “I lined up the previous Día De Muertos dolls and was inspired to bring some newness to this year’s line by giving Barbie a color-blocked dress with embroidery and pigment print artwork. I then used calavera makeup, marigolds, and sugar skull skeletons to tie all the previous dolls in the series together to feel like they are all from the same environment.”
He continued, “Ken has a little more complex design than Barbie, but I’m always up for the challenge! I wanted to make sure he felt different and special from the first Dia De Meurtos Ken. I think both dolls expand the Día De Muertos world with bright colors, beautiful artwork, and of course, details that help honor the traditions of the Día De Muertos Holiday.”
In addition to Meabe’s design, this year is especially unique thanks to Santos’ carefully decorated outfits for both Barbie and Ken. Santos is a Mexican fashion designer whose most recent Fall 2022 collection was profiled in Vogue, which called Santos a “fashion rock star.”
Meabe was happy with the collaboration and even welcomed Santos to the Barbie family, saying, “Working with Benito Santos was a highly collaborative experience. What I loved the most about this collaboration was being able to bring Benito’s vision to life in a new way. He shared trend boards so we could understand what themes he was eager to convey, and then we worked together to bring his creative vision to a Barbie scale.”
According to El Sol de México, Santos was inspired by his own desire to own a Barbie doll as a child and incorporated the audacious style that made him famous in the first place. In a video posted to his Instagram, Santo said, “I grew up in a town called Tepehuaje de Morelos.” The designer “was never good at playing soccer or marbles,” adding, “but I did want to play with dolls and I never had the courage to tell my parents or my family I wanted a doll.”
The latest Día De Muertos Barbie and Ken dolls are available now on Mattel. Get them while you can in time for All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2.
This article has been revised for accuracy.
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