Guo Pei, one of China’s most renowned couturiers, has partnered with Barbie to design the dress and accessories for the second Barbie Lunar New Year doll in the series, facilitated by Asian Couture Federation.
Mattel’s global fashion icon wears a traditional Chinese dress in riveting red, symbolizing good fortune and happiness. Featuring Guo Pei’s signature embroidery detailing, the dress comes to life with golden phoenixes representing femininity and grace. Water and wave motifs, traditionally seen on the attire of royalty, symbolize wealth, nourishment, and resilience. Striking phoenix-themed accessories complement her elegant look.
For their first-ever collaboration with Guo Pei, Mattel tapped Senior Product Designer Joyce Chen to realize her vision – and Guo Pei was a very active partner in the process. “Guo Pei personally sent the Barbie team a few different sketch designs, and together we narrowed down on the one we both felt reflected and honored the Lunar New Year holiday the best,” Chen revealed. “Along with the fashion, Guo Pei and her team sent us detailed sketches of the hair accessory, shoes, and the embroidery which we referenced to make her vision of the doll come to life.”
The vision for the doll revolved around the phoenix, a mythological bird said to be immortal, rising to life again from its own ashes. In addition to representing femininity and grace, it also symbolizes the passage of time and the cycle of life and renewal – the kinds of things considered a little more deeply during a meaningful annual holiday such as the Lunar New Year. Guo Pei carried the phoenix motif all the way through the design. “For accessories, the most prominent piece is the gold hairpiece sculpted in the shape of a phoenix,” Chen noted. “The phoenix is the main design theme for this doll, and is seen throughout the design of the dress.”
Rounding out the design is the choice of face sculpt, which also inspired a new makeup palette. Chen explained, “Guo Pei picked the beloved Mari sculpt as her favorite sculpt to use, and the new face paint was also created in reference to the sketches that Guo Pei’s team sent.”
A Mattel Creations exclusive, the doll was released on January 24, 2022. She’s available for $75, with a three-doll purchase limit, here.
Lia Chang loves to tell stories – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, a performing arts photographer and an award-winning filmmaker. A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, and was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago, and has worked extensively Off-Broadway. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com
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