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Matty Bovan x Barbie Dazed
‘GIRLNESS’Photography Ellie Stanton

Watch young designer Matty Bovan’s new film on girlhood

Celebrating Barbie’s birthday, the designer goes home to York to create GIRLNESS – see it here

Barbie is nothing if not chameleonic – in her 58 years she’s had all sorts of jobs, looks, and styles. So, the fact that she looked to young London designer Matty Bovan and his unique, brightly coloured vision to celebrate this milestone actually feels surprisingly natural. GIRLNESS is the product of this collaboration, a short film created by Bovan and frequent collaborator Lucy Alex Mac that embodies the Barbie spirit, while showcasing “how girls are in 2017.”

“Barbie was a huge inspiration to me growing up,” says Bovan of his personal connection to the project, adding that he saw her as “a blank canvas” that he used to make his first designs – and test out the brightly coloured hair that’s now his signature by colouring in hers. This then was an opportunity to let this childlike imagining run wild. “I felt the excitement of being young again,” the designer says of doing his own take on the famous logo and making the accompanying line of limited edition Barbie merch that will be available from the Fashion East Store in Selfridges tomorrow. Also including his own series of one-off dolls, the collection is a testament to how he “loved being able to showcase (his) craft on Barbie.” 

Instead of dolls though, the video sees Bovan’s social media cast girls captured in and around his hometown of York. “We wanted to cast people with a real sense of who they were and mix together these different worlds,” he says. Mac (who also shot Matty’s zine a few months ago) had a similar vision: of the pair’s “beautiful, modern characters seen populating the everyday, recognisable world we all inhabit.”

Dressed in pieces from his SS17 collection (clothes that are consciously un-gendered in the designer’s mind) this is a distinctly fresh and very Bovan take on girlhood today – one made possible by the similar scope for pushing the boundaries of what defines femininity that Barbie is now. “Barbie is like pop art,” he explains – “she can be transformed into anything your imagination wants.”

Watch the film below and head to the Fashion East Store at Selfridges Oxford Street to shop the limited edition Matty Bovan x Barbie merch.