- South African designer Gert Coetzee has collaborated with doll brand Barbie in a ready-to-wear clothing range.
- The range which also features some couture garments comprises of 31 looks which were inspired by South African cultures, religions, and body shapes.
- The showstopper couture dress took 50 hours to construct and has more than 3,000 genuine rhinestone crystals and pearls that were applied to the fabric manually.
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South African designer Gert Coetzee has collaborated with doll brand Barbie in a ready-to-wear clothing range, including a couture dress that took 50 hours to make.
The range, which has been named "Barbie Loves Gert" comprises 31 original and diverse looks created by the designer that represents varied body sizes, genders, and cultures.
Speaking at the launch of the collection this week, Coetzee said he wanted Barbie to experience South Africa to its fullest by integrating the cultural elements of the country into the collection; including the Sepedi people's common use of striking pink, which have been complemented by geometric patterns inspired by the Zulu culture in the designs.
Coetzee also used beadwork in black and white, inspired by beading work in the Xhosa culture.
"I wanted this collection to encapsulate a true South African experience," said Coetzee.
The clothing collection has both couture and ready-to-wear items with 15 of the ready to wear items available for purchase on Coetzee's website. The couture items can be ordered and made.
The collection features a showstopper couture gown that took over 50 hours to create. Coetzee describes it as a "one-of-a-kind gown – even in doll size – it's absolute haute couture."
More than 3,000 genuine rhinestone crystals and pearls were manually applied to the fabric to create the replica for Barbie and the dress is made of more than 40 meters of bright pink tulle ruches.
"Barbie has collaborated with designers many times, but I really wanted the African interpretation to stand out," said Coetzee.
"When people look at the collaboration from around the world, they must really feel inspired by the diversity of Africa, the richness of our culture and the beauty of our men and women," Coetzee said.
Scott Hobson, South African country manager for Mattel, the makers of Barbie dolls, said it was an honour to work with Coetzee.
"As the most diverse fashion doll in the market with over 170 different diverse looks, shapes and sizes, Barbie continues to show the impact of representation and we are absolutely honoured and inspired to be working with South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee whose work embodies these values," Hobson said.
Some of the looks from the collection
The shoes in the collaboration were designed in collaboration with the Europa Art Group and feature five different shoes, available in two colours at Europa Art Shoes stores and the online store.