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Life in plastic, it's fantastic: Gert-Johan Coetzee launches new collection with Barbie

The new Barbie dress by Gert-Johan Coetzee. Pictures: Supplied.

The new Barbie dress by Gert-Johan Coetzee. Pictures: Supplied.

Published Nov 11, 2021

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Acclaimed fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee has bagged a collaboration with Barbie.

The multi-award designer has created a collection that consists of 31 looks to celebrate South Africa and its unique diversity.

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“I wanted Barbie to experience South Africa to its fullest by integrating an array of South African cultural elements into the collection,” Coetzee says.

“Striking pink from the Pedi culture complemented by geometric patterns inspired by the Zulu culture. Using South African beadwork in black and white, I took inspiration from the Xhosa culture, I wanted this collection to encapsulate a true South African experience.”

Barbie doll in a Gert-Johan Coetzee number. Picture: Supplied.

Besides couture, the collection also has 15-ready-to-wear items for all genders, shapes and sizes.

One of the pieces that stand out from the collection is the gown with more than 3 000 genuine rhinestone crystals and pearls that were manually applied to the fabric to create the replica for Barbie.

“The dress is made of more than 40m of bright pink tulle ruches and the entire construction took over 50 meticulous hours to create,” says Coetzee.

Scott Hobson, of Mattel South Africa, says Mattel worked with Coetzee because he shares the same values of diversity as Barbie.

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Coetzee adds: “Barbie has collaborated with designers many times, but I wanted the African interpretation to stand out. When people look at the collaboration from around the world, they must feel inspired by the diversity of Africa, the richness of our culture and the beauty of our men and women.”

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