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Tarina Tarantino re-envisions Barbie
THERE were blushing vodka martinis, pink crushed-velvet curtains and enough rhinestones to glitter a gaggle of showgirls. Guests teetered on sky-high heels and piled on chunky plastic jewelry -- their lips painted bright, berry red.
It was a real-life Barbie Dream House, and the new lady of the manor was Barbie designed by Tarina Tarantino, the whimsical L.A. accessories designer known for her die-hard girlie aesthetic.
The limited-edition doll ($79.95 at the designer's boutiques and online at Barbie Collector, www.barbiecollector.com) wore a pastel green dress sprinkled with rhinestones. She was dripping with jewels slightly smaller than the ones in Tarantino's real-life collection. And of course, Barbie dyed her hair the same electric pink as the designer's (the colorist, Mattel, matched an actual lock of Tarantino's hair).
"This is the most honest collaboration," said Cameron Silver, co-owner of the Decades boutique. "Barbie and Tarina are, for lack of a better word, cut from the same cloth."
Which is maybe, for the first time in history, a compliment.
Tarantino wore a black slip dress with pink lace trim, a wristful of candy-like beads and a gigantic heart pendant. Not surprisingly, she's a lifelong fan of the doll. "Superstar Barbie in her hot pink Corvette emblazoned with stars and rainbows circa 1978," she said. "I had the matching carrying case and took her with me everywhere. I was so into her little accessories!"
She is the latest designer to style the doll; Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior were all Barbie couturiers too. Tarantino's relationship with Mattel began in 2005, when she began creating Barbie-themed jewelry.
Tarantino's staffers were eye candy themselves, kitted out like punk-rock Barbies in candy-colored vintage dresses and platform shoes and more huge, bedazzled heart pendants. Guests amped up the camp too, pairing chunky shoes with short skirts. One donned a hairpiece spouting Technicolor feathers, and Silver threw a hot pink Hermès pocket square into his silver Gucci jacket.
Actress Debi Mazar, who met Tarantino through their kids ("She's known as the pink-haired lady at school), paired a simple black Max Mara dress with a chunky light-pink plastic necklace and earrings from the designer's collection. Actress Illeana Douglas, pausing in front of a backdrop of Barbie's living room, admitted to an iffy relationship with the impossibly proportioned doll. "I would get the old ones my cousins didn't want," she said.
Not every Barbie rode off into the sunset in a pink convertible.