Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Marie Claire
Marie Claire
Halie LeSavage

This Barbie Is Wearing Kallmeyer to Pride

Four barbie dolls dressed in miniature versions of kallmeyer suiting.

Last summer, Greta Gerwig's Barbie reminded audiences that a doll—and the people who play with them—can be anything. The message found more meaning on its red (well, pink) carpet, where star Kate McKinnon wore a custom magenta suit by Daniella Kallmeyer featuring a "Gay Barbie" patch on the inside.

"It kind of went viral, and we joked that lesbian Twitter lost their minds from this gay Barbie patch," Kallmeyer, a queer designer with a loyal following in New York City's fashion scene, reflects on the phone with me nearly a year later. "Kate specifically being an out, proud actor playing this unexpected, unconventional character breaking outside of this stereotype of Barbie being a perfect woman spoke to so much of what I believe in. And I got quite emotional about it."

A year later, McKinnon's monumental suit is coming back to Barbieland in a different form. Daniella Kallmeyer partnered with Barbie Style—an editorial project that showcases Barbies in all sorts of high-fashion—to create four doll-sized versions of Kallmeyer's most recognizable pieces for Pride. After the Barbie dolls model their Kallmeyer looks on Instagram in a shrunken-down replica of Kallmeyer's New York City store, they'll be auctioned with proceeds benefitting the LGBTQ advocacy organization, GLAAD.

Kate McKinnon wore a custom pink Kallmeyer suit to the 2023 premiere of Barbie. (Image credit: Getty Images)
McKinnon's look was shrunken down to bite-size proportions for one of Barbie's four special-edition Kallmeyer dolls. (Image credit: Courtesy Mattel)

McKinnon's custom pink suit was only the start of what Café Kallmeyer's tiniest new members would wear. Kallmeyer (the designer) also wanted her four dolls to represent what Pride and queerness look like beyond the red carpet, in an everyday (and well-dressed) context.

"We wanted it to represent a version of Kallmeyer that really spoke to what this celebration is, but we also believe there's no one way to look or feel or act queer," the designer says. "It was important to us to distill pieces and looks and just styling honestly, that has become such a signature at the Kallmeyer brand from the perspective of me being a queer designer."

The second Barbie in the lineup represents Kallmeyer founder Daniella Kallmeyer, dressed in the label's black-tie skirt and tuxedo blazer. (Image credit: Courtesy Mattel)

We wanted [these Barbies] to represent a version of Kallmeyer that really spoke to what this celebration is, but we also believe there's no one way to look or feel or act queer.

Daniella Kallmeyer

One look is modeled off of Daniella herself, featuring three of Kallmeyer's black-tie pieces; the remaining two outfits involve casual-yet-tailored classics like denim and trench coats. "You should feel your best self, you should feel like gay and sexy and empowered even when you're like the most dressed down," Kallmeyer says.

The denim-on-denim Barbie also comes with a tie-in to the designer's in-house Pride campaign. She wears a pair of black Kallmeyer boxers, launching online this month, peeking out from beneath the waistband of her jeans. Both in miniature form and for the brand's loyal shoppers, the piece "really signifies feeling your best from the inside out."

Two other dolls wear Kallmeyer's more everyday outfits. Barbie "Brooklyn Roberts," above, wears Kallmeyer's button-up shirt with an integrated tie, smoking trousers, and an oversize trench. (Image credit: Courtesy Mattel)
Last but not least, the “Millie Roberts" Barbie wears a denim-on-denim Kallmeyer look—plus, a pair of boxers Kallmeyer is selling as part of the brand's Pride campaign. (Image credit: Courtesy Mattel)

Given that there are four dolls to be auctioned, this collection isn't about getting a queer-coded Barbie into every home. (Note to Mattel: Consider it for next year.) It's about showing the breadth of what Barbie can wear and who she can be. "To be able to take something like a tie shirt or a vest look or a slouch jean with their boxer showing, that I consider so signature and inspired by my queerness, and move that into the general perception of everybody is, to me, a cultural moment that I'm very honored to be participating in," Kallmeyer says.

"My hope is that all of these looks are iconic enough that they are equally impactful and that someone is getting a piece of history—not only from the fact that this is new for a brand as big as Mattel to be doing something so out-ly prideful," the designer adds. "But also, maybe this is a little moment in history for Kallmeyer."

The auction for all four Kallmeyer Barbies closes on July 5. No matter how much has been raised, the designer has already achieved something special for herself and her brand's community. "Who wouldn't want their designs coming to life on something that's as iconic as Barbie?"

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.