Margot Robbie’s ‘Barbie' World Tour Wardrobe Gets the Art Book Treatment

After the actors’ strike shut down the Barbie press tour just before the movie hit theaters—with record-breaking sales at the box office—last July, the film’s star, Margot Robbie, her stylist Andrew Mukamal, and other members of Robbie’s team were having tea at Claridge’s in London. “It was a celebration, but also bittersweet, because it was the end of a special and exciting moment for all of us,” Mukamal remembers.

They weren’t sure when they would all be together next. At that point, putting together a book-length project of Robbie’s Barbie-inspired looks was a dream put on pause. Luckily, it eventually materialized into a reality.

Barbie: The World Tour, from Rizzoli, is out in the world on March 19 with 160 glorious pages of incredible images by photographer Craig McDean. The coffee-table book also includes luscious collages combining sketches and notes from the designers, images of vintage Barbie inspiration and snapshots of Robbie stunning on the red carpet.

Many of the looks featured will be familiar to anyone who gobbled up Getty Images of Robbie as she promoted her work on the Greta Gerwig-directed film. Think, for instance, of the custom Hervé Léger bandage dress that put a spin on Barbie’s iconic black and white striped bathing suit, or Versace’s interpretation of the doll’s famous “Day to Night” 1985 ensemble, featuring a clunky early cell phone and all.

Craig McDean / Creative Direction Fabien Baron

Other looks will be completely new to the reader, including the outfits that Robbie and Mukamal didn’t take out on the road when tour stops were canceled for strike-related reasons. For instance, a stunning overcoat with a matching brocaded dress by Miu Miu replicating Barbie’s “Evening Splendor” that Robbie was supposed to debut in Tokyo.

For Mukamal, Barbie: The World Tour, is the book he’d always dreamed of making.

“As a teenager, I was obsessed with fashion images, magazines, books,” he said, reflecting on the joy of leafing through “something where you could see the references, the process, fabric swatches, handwriting, final product.” He adds, “If I were younger, this would probably blow my mind.”

The beginnings of the project came about before Robbie ever stepped foot on a red carpet, as she and Mukamal were preparing for her eventual press tour. Mukamal gathered his ephemera and inspirations in a folder, including sketches and swatches; that folder became his “happy place.”

Once creative director Fabien Baron, who was also responsible for the collages, came on, he wanted to carry the idea over to the page. “It should feel like a journal, like a narrative,” Baron says. “There’s so much storytelling in Barbie.”

The photoshoot for the book happened in just three days—post-strike, of course. McDean, Mukamal, Robbie, Baron, and set designer Stefan Beckman created environments specific to the clothing. “I approached each look as its own unique thing,” McDean says. “Some looks we did more simply, and others had more layers with things like sets and props. Margot is incredible to work with because she gives you such a range of characters to capture.”

Robbie wearing Vivienne Westwood

Craig McDean / Creative Direction: Fabien Baron

Couture Dress by Vivienne Westwood

Robbie threw herself into the book with the gusto you might expect. Wearing Schiaparelli’s “Solo in the Spotlight” black sequined gown, she gives Barbie-as-chanteuse. In Givenchy’s polka-dotted “Gay Parisienne,” she looks particularly doll-like, eyes wide. “When she is in work mode and she sprays her Barbie perfume on her and she’s just gliding in and out of outfits, she’s the first one running to set,” Mukamal says. “We’re all chasing after her.” (Yes, Robbie has a specific perfume she wears to inhabit the spirit of Barbie. Mukamal could not confirm the brand.)

The book was produced quickly to meet the Barbie moment. “To me, it’s a document,” Baron says. “It’s what it meant at that time, and what it did to America as a film. The timing was super crucial.”

Some of that significance is summed up in the forward by former British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enniful, which explains how “it’s very rare that a film traverses the globe in the way the Barbie movie has.” You can also spot it in the personalized notes written on the sketches. Donatella Versace, for instance, scribbles: “My first memory of Barbie was seeing her iconic blonde hair and understanding she was a powerful woman who could be anything. A total inspiration!”

Craig McDean / Creative Direction: Fabien Baron

These intimate contributions from designers are some of the treasures of the book. For instance, Mukamal put Robbie in a 1992 minidress by Bob Mackie for an after-party. Because he bought the dress on The Real Real for $500—a steal for that kind of find—he reached out to Mackie for an original sketch. Mackie, who has a long history with Barbie, wanted to sketch the dress anew, with Robbie in it. “Everybody else was putting Margot’s head on the idea of the outfit before it was produced, before she wore it,” Mukamal says. “And this was going backward with this one look, which felt so incredible.”

The book perhaps is the final evolution of Robbie’s journey as Barbie. After all, if you measure a real Barbie against the image of her on the cover, laid out as if in a box, you’ll find they are the exact same size.

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