'Mexicans who live abroad will be able to tell their children about our wealth and traditions.'
Barbie, the beloved toy brand, just introduced three limited edition new dolls as part of Mattel’s ongoing Día de Muertos series, honoring the customs, symbols and rituals often seen throughout this festive time of remembrance. It was announced on Barbie's Instagram page in a post, captioned, "Tonight marks the start of Día de Muertos, the Mexican festival of remembrance. Over the next two days, families will honor the memories of those who have passed, & reflect on the legacies our generations will one day leave behind."
Día de Muertos, also known as Día De Los Muertos, is one of Mexico's most historically and culturally significant events. Every year on the Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 1 & 2, the ones who have departed are honored. The dolls convey the charm of this centuries-old commemoration by using both vibrant colors and traditional Mexican attire, reports Modern Met.
Mexican artists contributed to the development of each design of the Día de Muertos Barbie dolls. One of the dolls was created in collaboration with Mexican fashion designer Benito Santos, a 45-year-old man who as a young boy only dreamed of dressing up dolls. Santos' Barbie costume is an ode to female Mariachi singers and the attire worn in charrería, an equestrian sport practiced in Mexico. It is made out of a black garment with red and white embroidery and a mermaid hem.
When asked about the significance of designing a Barbie, Santos told the Mexican newspaper Milenio that he can now heal by making the dream of dressing "the most important doll in the world" come true. He said, "I loved it because when they told me about capturing what Mexico is for me on the Day of the Dead, I was very excited. I thought: 'A lot of people in the world are going to ask their parents, Why do they celebrate that in Mexico?' And Mexicans who live abroad will be able to tell their children about our wealth and traditions."
Javier Meabe, who has also worked on creating iterations for Day of the Dead dolls, oversaw the design of the other two Barbie and Ken dolls. Barbie, with a gorgeous headpiece of roses and cempasúchil flowers, typically found in ofrendas and tombs at this time of year, is dressed in a purple ruffled dress with a colorfully patterned skirt, a bone belt and other accessories. Ken wears a vivid blue blouse tucked into a vest with golden accents and intricately embroidered skulls, roses and bones. Javier told Hola Magazine, “Every year when I sit down to design the new Día De Muertos dolls, there’s a flood of emotions; I’m honored and excited to represent this holiday that is so close to my own heart. I understand how important this holiday is and am grateful for the opportunity to continue celebrating these traditions with Barbie respectfully.”
Javier adds that for this year's edition, he worked closely with Barbie's Latin American partners. The designer stressed that he wanted vibrant colors and artwork to bring newness to this design. He also used "used calavera makeup, marigolds, and sugar skull skeletons" in the design of the dolls in this series. “I think both dolls expand the Día De Muertos world with bright colors, beautiful artwork and of course, details that help honor the traditions of the Día De Muertos Holiday,” he continued. Javier further added that working with Santos was a “highly collaborative" experience. He shared that bringing Santos' vision to life was what he “loved the most” adding, “It was a passion project from both Benito’s team and the Barbie team. I’m thrilled to welcome Benito to the Barbie brand and share his vision of what it means to him to celebrate Día De Muertos with Barbie.”