Three new dolls join the Barbie Día de Muertos collection for 2022

Three new dolls join the Barbie Día de Muertos collection for 2022

The Day of the Dead holiday, observed in Mexico and around the world, is a more joyous tradition than its name may indicate. The “Day of the Dead” is a time of remembrance, but a festive one. It is a celebration of the lives of those who have passed away, but often in a light-hearted or even humorous way. People build altars (ofrendas) at home and add the deceased's favorite foods and drinks to them, or take them to their graves, and can remember fun stories about the deceased loved one.

“I love celebrating the Day of the Dead,” says Javier Meabe, who designed each of the Day of the Dead dolls in our collection. “Every year I try to create an altar with flowers, food and photos of my family and friends who are no longer with us. It is a great way to remember them through stories and happy memories.”

Since 2019, Barbie Signature has created a Day of the Dead Barbie doll to recognize this traditional holiday, reflecting the customs and symbols of the occasion. Last year we presented the first Ken doll in the collection. And this year, we not only brought back Barbie and Ken, we also established a new collaboration with world-renowned Mexican designer Benito Santos.

The Dia de Muertos 2022 Barbie doll, Dia De Muertos 2022 Ken doll, and members-exclusive Benito Santos x Barbie Día De Muertos 2022 doll are now available at Mattel Creations, ready to become part of your collection and your annual Día de Muertos traditions

It's a major undertaking to take three dolls from concepts to reality. To learn more about the process, we asked Javier to share some behind-the-scenes details about the creation of each of the three new dolls. He started with the one that started it all: Barbie.

“For this year's Barbie doll, we worked very closely with our Latin American partners,” says Javier. “I wanted this year's doll to be full of vibrant colors and artwork. “I lined up all the previous Day of the Dead dolls, and I knew the way to bring some novelty to this segment was to give her a color-blocked dress full of embroidery and pigment-printed artwork.”

Reflecting on how it all turned out, Javier says, “I think this is the most colorful doll I've ever designed. I also used skull makeup, marigolds, and sugar skull skeletons to tie all of the dolls above together so they feel like they are all from the same environment. I hope collectors and fans appreciate how bright and colorful it is. I think they will also appreciate the soft garment details like the lace on the dress and the ribbons on the headband.”

Día De Muertos 1 Barbie Doll

Barbie has been a mainstay since the Día de Muertos Collection began, and Ken only joined the collection last year. “I loved how excited people were when they saw the first Ken celebrating Day of the Dead traditions. So I'm excited to be able to do a second edition of Ken,” says Javier. “Ken always has a slightly more complex design than Barbie, but I'm always up for the challenge when I design for Ken.”

So how did you approach this second edition, to make it different from the first? “I gave him a color-coordinated shirt with illustrations printed with gold pigments and a vest with colorful embroidery. I also found new ways to include embroidery and pigmented printing,” explains Javier. “Then we added gold details to his pants and accessories to give it a finishing touch. I also gave Ken more soft goods details, which I know collectors will appreciate. “I wanted to make sure it felt bright and colorful so it could complement this year’s Day of the Dead Barbie doll.”

Día De Muertos 2 Barbie Doll

To complement these two stunning dolls, we were excited by the opportunity to collaborate on a third Day of the Dead doll this year with Mexican fashion designer Benito Santos. Known on haute couture runways around the world for his bold and vivid creations, his work has been described as romantic and rebellious. “He was a great partner to work with,” says Javier. “This was the first time I worked with an [external] designer on a project, so I was equal parts excited and nervous.”

We asked Javier if he could tell us how the collaboration process worked and he shared some fantastic details. “We were able to meet digitally and he was able to share his sketches for his vision of the dress, hair, makeup and accessories,” says Javier. “He also shared his mood boards so we could understand what themes he was trying to convey. Then we worked together to be able to create the vision of him on a Barbie scale.”

Día De Muertos 3 Barbie Doll

“There was a lot of hard work that went into making this doll!” Javier added. “It was a passion project for both the Benito team and the Barbie team, and I am thrilled to welcome Benito to the Barbie brand and share his vision of what it means to him to celebrate the Day of the Dead with Barbie.”

As always with these dolls, if you collect them, you are faced with a difficult decision: take them out of the box or keep them intact. Luckily for you, we made sure that if you keep them packaged, you'll still be able to create a fantastic display. That's where packaging designer Sal Velázquez comes in, along with a talented partner you may not be familiar with yet. “I've worked on all the Day of the Dead doll package designs since their debut in 2019,” says Sal. “I designed and collaborated with an amazing illustrator named Ray Goudey. We both make a great team! Working with someone as talented as Ray has been an incredible process for the look of the line.”

The Barbie and Ken dolls feature a different packaging execution than the Benito Santos x Barbie doll. For Barbie and Ken, Sal says, “I really wanted to go with a package that collectors can keep if they decide to remove the doll. The package has a lot of details, from sculptural engravings on the outer lid to lots of varnishes throughout. “The thinking behind the relief sculptural cover was to have an unboxing experience for the viewer to connect with the art and the doll waiting inside.”

Regarding the artwork, which is another notable aspect of the Day of the Dead packaging, Sal says that “the Javi doll is the main inspiration, as we have been creating stylized portraits that bring “life” to the doll with the packaging cover art. “Some of the details you find in the doll's fashion have also been used in the packaging and make both the artwork and the doll flow well together.”

The Benito Santos x Barbie doll's packaging has some similarities, so it remains "one piece," so to speak, with the rest of the collection. But it's definitely different in a particular way. This time I moved away from the illustrations and focused more on a photographic execution, more of a magazine-like glamor shot of the doll," says Sal. "We wanted it to feel and look different from our previous Day of the Dead packages. , so we thought using photographs would be a great way to distinguish the two versions. We arranged a set of candles and marigolds in the dark, and photographed the doll in front of the arrangement in more focus. “It really gave it a beautiful dramatic effect.”

Now that you know all about the three new Día de Muertos Collection dolls for 2022, it's time to add them to your own collection, while you can! In recent years, these dolls have been among the best sellers, so don't miss your chance this year. Start a new tradition, or continue a wonderful one, and get members-exclusive Barbie, Ken, and Benito Santos x Barbie dolls today for your future Day of the Dead celebrations.

Día De Muertos 3 Barbie Doll Sketch


Translation and adaptation of the article published by Mattel Creations Staff 5 September 1, 2022

Written by Allen Voivod

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