Weary of Barbiecore? Michael Halpern certainly isn’t, opting to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of the fashion doll’s Dreamhouse with his spring collection, and with only a dash of pink.
“I grew up very, very liberal in New York. It was never like girls play with this and boys play with that,” the American-born designer related backstage. “It’s allowing people to have a bit of fantasy and escapism at a time of darkness.”
The Barbie segment, demarcated by models in wild, candy-floss-colored hairdos, was a hoot. The capsule won’t be commercialized, even though it was an official collaboration with Barbie parent Mattel and the designer was given access to the doll’s complete wardrobe.
Halpern being Halpern, he zeroed in on floor-length evening silhouettes, which also dominated the rest of the show, which saw models parading around a gleaming silver box with flashing lights inside. The designer said he was also inspired by his mother, who kept her Manhattan party clothes from the ’70s when his family moved upstate, and continued to fly the flag for glamour in plunging leopard-print velvet numbers.
Velvet looks in black and leopard print dominated the show, unusual for a spring collection, but at home in Halpern’s disco-fueled fashion universe. He also layered on draped satin, froths of tulle, sprays of embroidery and big satin bows anchored with a jewel at the belly button, or the small of the back.
Sequin gowns in colorful zigzag patterns were zestier.
After 15 years in the U.K., Halpern is finally getting British citizenship and wished to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II for her “widespread support for creative freedom.” He zeroed in on a blue gown she wore to attend an opera in 1957 with the-then French president. His version was a zhuzhed-up gown with a headscarf, topped with a billowing cape that drifted by in utter silence.