guo pei barbie yellow empress dress rihanna

Who Wore It Better? Barbie or Rihanna in Chinese Couture by Guo Pei?

Guo Pei’s iconic imperial-yellow dress, which Rihanna debuted at the 2015 Met Gala, is now available for purchase — in doll size

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1 month ago 1 mins read

On October 26, American toy manufacturer Mattel released an exclusive Barbie doll dressed in an iconic imperial-yellow dress designed by Chinese couturier Guo Pei, and worn by Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala.


The doll even bears some resemblance to the Barbadian musician and businesswoman — an Instagram user has even dubbed it the ‘BarbRi’ — and rocks a golden headpiece and ornate heels modeled after Manchu platform shoes worn during the Qing Dynasty in China.

The doll’s gown bears many of the same elements as the original Met Gala dress, which reportedly weighed 55 pounds, and took Guo two whole years to make. Mattel boasts that the doll-sized version was created following a strict “1:1 scale.”

Barbie’s senior packaging designer Joyce Chen worked with Guo to create the doll-sized version of the gown.


“Guo Pei’s team first sent us a detailed sketch of the embroidery itself,” explained Chen in a conversation with Mattel Creations. “We were able to recreate the look by using embroidery around the edges of the gown, and an appliqué that goes down the back, giving the dress more dimension.”


Many netizens have openly admired the craftsmanship that has gone into the doll, calling the collectible “stunning,” and “perfection,” and boasting about having already pre-ordered it.


Meanwhile, others are put off by its hefty price tag of 200 USD. One such person took to Instagram to whine, “She’s lovely, but $200? And her body doesn’t even move.”


guo pei barbie in box

The Guo Pei Barbie comes with a doll stand and a certificate of authenticity. Image via Mattel


Guo is arguably the most well-known Chinese couturier in the contemporary fashion world. With the Barbie collaboration, she joins a legendary group of high-fashion houses — including Balmain, Moschino, and Vera Wang — that have also collaborated with the toy line.


The Guo Pei Barbie isn’t Mattel’s first time foraying into Chinese fashion, either. Last year, the company designed a Barbie in the likeness of Chinese supermodel Liu Wen.


liu wen as barbie

The Barbie doll in Liu Wen’s likeness. Image via Mattel


Members of the public can purchase the Guo Pei Barbie in anticipation of the live-action Barbie film, which is scheduled for release in 2023.


Cover image designed by the author

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