Speaking to Architectural Digest, Gerwig revealed that the team constructed the movie’s fluorescent Barbie Land sets almost entirely from scratch at the Warner Bros Studios Leavesden – all the way down to the sky, which was hand-painted rather than CGI rendered.
“We were literally creating the alternate universe of Barbie Land,” she told the magazine. “Everything needed to be tactile, because toys are, above all, things you touch.”
To recreate the almost monochromatic colour palette of Barbie’s Dreamhouses, the set design team had to source a bottomless supply of pink paint to cover everything from lampposts to road signs.
In particular, the production used a highly saturated shade by US manufacturer Rosco to capture the hyperreality of Barbie Land.
“I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much,” Gerwig told Architectural Digest.
So much paint was needed, in fact, that Greenwood says the movie’s production caused a worldwide shortage of that particular hue.
“The world ran out of pink,” she joked.
Rosco later told the LA Times that the company’s supply chain had already been disrupted when the movie began production at the start of 2022, due to the lingering aftereffects of the coronavirus pandemic and the winter storm that shocked Texas the previous year.
“There was this shortage and then we gave them everything we could – I don’t know they can claim credit,” Rosco’s vice president of global marketing Lauren Proud told the LA Times, before conceding that “they did clean us out on paint”.
Since stills for the upcoming movie were first released a year ago, the all-pink hyper-feminine “Barbiecore” aesthetic has infiltrated the design world, with Google searches skyrocketing and the term accumulating more than 349 million views on TikTok.
Earlier this year, Barbie manufacturer Mattel collaborated with Pin-Up magazine to release a monograph on the architecture and interiors of Barbie’s Dreamhouse to mark its 60th anniversary.
“There have been so many books and entire PhDs on Barbie, but never really on her many houses and her furniture,” Pin-Up founder Felix Burrichter told Dezeen.
“So we thought it would be a good idea to make one and treat it as a serious subject, in the same way that Barbie has been treated as a serious subject over the years.”
The image is by Mattel.