Sunday 31 May, 2020

Bermudan Shiona Turini designs Black Barbies for Mattel

Bermuda-born stylist, costume designer and consultant Shiona Turini is at the helm of the design team

Bermuda-born stylist, costume designer and consultant Shiona Turini is at the helm of the design team

The iconic Barbie doll from the ’80s has come full circle with a cameo in one of Barbie/Mattel’s newest Black Barbie campaign.

At the helm of the design team is Bermuda-born stylist, costume designer and consultant Shiona Turini.

Turini lives and works in New York City, but was heavily influenced by her Caribbean roots, which she expertly used to update the collections for the dolls.

The fashion world is currently hell-bent on proving its inclusivity, and this collaboration is a positive move for Mattel in adding more people of colour to advise the presentation of race, culture, and ethnicity.

The dolls are gorgeous! No two are the same and Turini, along with Carlyle Nuera, a lead designer for Barbie Signature at Mattel from the Philippines, did a superb job with deciding hair, make-up, and the varying style stories for the 12 new Barbie family members.

As a young’un, Turini adored her “first fashion icon” (the first Black Barbie), which she mentioned when she shared this message.

“I grew up obsessed with @barbie and while she was one of my first fashion icons, I clearly remember searching shelves for a doll that looked like me and coming up empty handed."

The first black Barbie was introduced in 1980 – in a sparkly red dress with an Afro pick in her hair. But Turini's 21st century version comes complete with her own “throne”.

And it's a beautiful touch that the first Black Barbie makes a cameo in one of the photo sets alongside the new age Barbies.

Naturally, Turini was inspired by the original ’80s version, but she was tasked with injecting the Turini DNA – which comprises her Bermudan heritage and New York sass.

“My vision was to style diverse dolls in bold looks with themes seen throughout my work, like contrasting snakeskin and leopard challenging traditional uniformity,” she said in a statement to ELLE.

Understanding the adage “less is more”, Turini colour-coordinated the dolls in the varying photo sets.

Their outfit styles range from lame jumpsuits and wrap dresses to nude turtleneck monokinis and thigh-high boots.

And the finished product is something very special.

“Here she is, on her customized throne, surrounded by friends created and styled by me. I hope other young children, and adult Barbie lovers, are as excited to see themselves reflected in these dolls as I am.

“Thank you @barbiestyle for collaborating with me to create Barbies with braids, finger waves and everything in between. Chicks by the layers, all different flavours. And even a curvy doll, in a crop top, with waist length twists. Baby Shiona is PROUD! Representation matters and I’m so grateful to be a part of this moment,” the verified stylist shared via Instagram.

In a recent post, Turini shared more sentiments and urged her followers to tag themselves to the doll that best matches their overall appearance.

"I’m the curvy @barbie in a crop top. Of course || Thank you @barbiestyle for making my childhood dreams come true, customizing these @queenandslim inspired snake skin boots + bodysuits, going [through] the painstaking process of giving Barbie twists and allowing me the freedom to create something special so that my community can see themselves represented in such an iconic brand. Life is good in the dream house."

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