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The Deep Meaning Behind Margot Robbie’s Yellow Dress at the End of Barbie

Photo: Warner Bros

Barbie has always been inextricably linked with fashion. Her clothing is a huge part of what makes the doll both, a playtime favorite and a style icon. This essence has been perfectly captured by the Barbie movie’s director Greta Gerwig and costume designer Jacqueline Durran.

From bespoke Chanel ensembles to the iconic striped bathing suit, there were a number of unforgettable style moments in the movie. However, a dress that seems to have passed under the radar carries the symbolism expected of a movie that claims to be a lot deeper than it first appears. After Margot Robbie‘s stereotypical Barbie succeeds in defeating the Kens and restoring the matriarchy in Barbieland, she appears in a simple yellow dress. The look contrasts highly with her previous extravagant pink wardrobe but according to an interview Durran had with Variety, it is symbolic of how Barbie has changed throughout the movie.

“The Barbies have gone through all of that stuff and they’re now the most fulfilled versions of themselves,” Durran said. “And that sets the scene for what’s happening to Margot’s Barbie as she’s becoming human.” While the other Barbies are more than satisfied having thwarted the creation of Kendom, Robbie’s Barbie desires something beyond her existence as a doll. As she puts it in the movie, “I want to do the imagining, not be the idea.” This shift towards wanting to be human over her earlier insistence that she wanted nothing to change is encapsulated by the dress.

Photo: Warner Bros

Unlike traditional Barbie clothes or the ones worn earlier in the movie, this dress accentuates the softness of the human body. Durran explains, “The costume is a bias cut dress which drapes—it’s not Barbie quality.” The color is also highly significant here, “I was keen to track the history of Mattel in the costumes. I asked them what was the most popular costume in the last 5 to 10 years. It turns out it’s a yellow dress. I was going to copy that dress, but it wouldn’t really be recognizable enough.”

This dress was made by Duran herself, like many other pieces in Barbie. “We wanted a soft yellow and wanted it to have less pop. So, we printed that yellow onto white silk, and because of the cut, it clings to the body. That’s not really a Barbie characteristic — the Barbie characteristic is to be cut straight and to create a shape that falls away from the body.”

The Oscar-nominated costume designer made sure that every part of the ensemble exuded the humanity she was trying to capture. “We moved from the classic Barbie heeled court shoe into something softer, but at the same time we had to keep the heel,” Durran said of the wedges before explaining the Missoma heart locket, “There’s a source of pathos in a locket that Barbie doesn’t necessarily have. So, earlier in the film, she has heart accessories that she wears in the block party, and she has huge heart earrings, but there’s something about that locket and scale that makes it more human.”

Read Next: Mattel Just Released New-Edition Barbies (and Kens) Inspired by Looks From the Barbie Movie

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