Every Barbie from the Barbie Movie as a Perfume
As perpetually late to the party and awful with kairos as I am, I have only just watched Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie.
Three times. Over the course of a single week.
God, what a film.
If you haven’t seen it, go do so. Right this instant. Tonight. It’s well worth the $12 cost of a theater ticket (or $20, if you have the glamorous misfortune of living on the West Coast).
It’s a decadent, dazzling, glorious pink spectacle of a film that manages to explore some challenging feminist themes in an approachable and utterly hilarious way, all while somehow getting the Mattel stamp of approval. It’s a kaleidoscope of nostalgic, comforting sets and costumes and a kick-ass soundtrack, struck through with straightforward yet piercing questions of self and gender and performance.
Truly, Greta Gerwig can do it all.
I don’t even know what else to say. I mean, I could talk all day about the Barbie movie, but I don’t know how much of it is relevant here.
I thought it would be fun to pick a perfume to embody each of the Barbies. Or, at least, each of the main Barbies in the movie. I’m aware there are hundreds of Barbies.
(No Kens. Like just about every little girl, I feel vaguely obligated to include them yet simultaneously utterly uninterested.)
So, without further ado… here’s every Barbie as a perfume.
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Stereotypical Barbie: Burberry Brit Eau de Parfum by Burberry
She’s the Barbie-est of the Barbies. She deserves the pinkest, Barbie-est of perfumes. And in my book, that’s the iconic Burberry Brit.
All candied almond and pink peony and sugar, Burberry Brit is the ultimate sweet doll’s-head scent. Top notes of lime and pear lend a fresh fruity vibe. This fruity freshness, combined with the candy-sweet scents if sugar and almond, is reminiscent of sweetly scented dolls and toys, innocent and nostalgic and lovely.
More than any other perfume, the opening of Burberry Brit makes me think of scented dolls, their houses, their clothes, their cars. This is the sweetness emanating from a doll aisle in the scented-toys heyday, all sugar and spice and everything nice. Heavy emphasis on the sugar.
The base of Brit is all about warm, cozy comfort notes like vanilla, tonka bean, and rich mahogany that’ll remind you of the grounded sensibility and goodness in Stereotypical Barbie’s heart.
This is a perfume that’s definitely P as in pretty, I as in intelligent, N as in never sad, and K as in kool. It’s a sweet perfume for a sweet girl, pretty in pink and ready to take on the world with a smile. It’s also the most doll-like perfume I can imagine, which is perfect for the Barbie you picture when you’re told, “think of a Barbie.” That’s her!
Where to Find Burberry Brit Eau de Parfum by Burberry
Mermaid Barbie: R.E.M. Eau de Parfum by Ariana Grande
Dua Lipa’s Mermaid Barbie(s) is/are a delight. The blue, pink, and purple dolls of the sea don’t have a huge role in the movie, but they deserve a perfume too, and I think they’d love R.E.M. by Ariana Grande.
(Is it uncouth to assign the chanteuse’s character another singer’s perfume? This isn’t meant to slight Lipa’s role as the face of YSL’s Libre in the slightest. I simply somehow haven’t smelled that one yet.)
R.E.M. combines the scent of a salty ocean breeze with a cool lavender note and an array of sweet treats: zephyr marshmallows, caramel, and rich, jammy fruity notes of fig and quince. The result is a perfume that’s sweet and tasty yet salty and fresh, with a classy lavender twist.
It’s versatile and sweet, but still unusual and full of surprises, just like Mermaid Barbie. And the coloring of the perfume feels to me like a collection of cool purple, pink and blue shades, matching the hair colors of the three singing sea ladies. There’s a faint background earthiness to it that reminds me of that rich, gravelly timbre of Dua Lipa’s voice, while the lavender exudes confidence and chic.
(An honorary mention goes to Mugler’s Womanity here, which was my original selection for Mermaid Barbie. But seeing as that perfume is 1. discontinued and 2. incredibly divisive, I decided to go with R.E.M.)
Where to Find R.E.M. Eau de Parfum by Ariana Grande
You can find samples and decants of R.E.M. EdP at Scent Decant.
Writer Barbie: Orchidee Vanille Eau de Parfum by Van Cleef & Arpels
Writer Barbie is oh-so-sweet and also unbelievably gorgeous. She’s the literal girl next door Stereotypical Barbie waves to every morning from her bed, and is always incredibly cheerful and supportive of the other Barbies, even during tough times.
She’s a team player and a confident woman, and she’s always smiling and looking to connect with the other Barbies and help them out. She’s also a shrewd intellectual, the voice of a generation.
Writer Barbie would wear a sweet, cheerful girl-next-door perfume that’s also sophisticated and subtle and compliments her pink and purple wardrobe. She would absolutely love Van Cleef & Arpels’ Orchidee Vanille.
This is the ultimate soft, delicious perfume. It wraps you up in a gentle musky embrace of vanilla-almond angel food cake with chocolate icing on top. A little spritz of mandarin orange and lychee keeps things cheery and bright, while smoky tonka bean and powdery violet deepen the musky hug.
The bright, sweet facets of Orchidee Vanille match Writer Barbie’s wardrobe and cheerful personality perfectly. And there’s a smooth sophistication to it that’s appropriate for a serious author who also loves pretty things. And she’s so sweet, it seems she’d love to smell like vanilla-chocolate cake.
Where to Find Orchidee Vanille Eau de Parfum by Van Cleef & Arpels
You can find samples, decants, and full bottles of Orchidee Vanille EdP at Scent Split.
Physicist Barbie: Hypnotic Poison Eau de Toilette by Dior
Another member of Stereotypical Barbie’s inner circle, Physicist Barbie is an accomplished, genuine, incredibly sweet gal. She’s always there to compliment and uplift her fellow Barbies, and her expressive face is always showing exactly what she’s thinking.
Besides being an accomplished physicist, Physicist Barbie is also a vintage fashion fanatic. Her wardrobe is evidence of her exquisite (yet always practical) taste. Wide headbands, polka dots, jumpers and pantsuits, drop earrings and matching choker necklaces… Physicist Barbie is a style icon with a particular love for sixties silhouettes and an overall look that seriously reminds me of Jackie O.
She needs a perfume that reflects her love of all things vintage. And while it’s a nineties release rather than a sixties one, the richness of Dior’s Hypnotic Poison perfectly goes with her style. (Yes, nineties is vintage now. Feel old yet? I do.)
Hypnotic Poison is a perfume that shaped a generation. It’s a, well, hypnotic blend of sweet dessert-y notes like almond, vanilla, and plum — heavy emphasis on the almond.
The result is a heavenly musky scent that’s reminiscent of rich desserts and of good times gone by. It’s versatile enough to match the diverse retro styles in Physicist Barbie’s wardrobe while complementing her earnest, sweet nature.
Where to Find Hypnotic Poison Eau de Toilette by Dior
Lawyer Barbie: Nomade Eau de Parfum by Chloé
Lawyer Barbie is complicated. She isn’t afraid to hold both logic and emotion at the same time, and is confident in her skill and the strength of her arguments regardless.
She deserves a complicated perfume. One that blends fruity-fresh modernity with vintage chypre elegance. One that’s sweet and bitter at the same time. One she can wear to the courtroom every day as a signature.
Lawyer Barbie deserves a perfume like Nomade by Chloé.
The original Eau de Parfum, to be exact. Sweet mirabelle plums, fresh flowers, and rich inky oakmoss blend into an iconic perfume that lets both old and new fashions shine.
It’s clean, professional, and utterly chic. It’s as complex as she is, and just as put together. It’s clean and fresh enough to make a great work perfume that won’t bother anyone. It’s one of my favorite office scents myself.
And then there’s the aesthetics of it all. Throughout the movie, Lawyer Barbie wears a lot of blue, white, green, and gold. And the golden mirabelle plums, white flowers, and cool green notes match well with Lawyer Barbie’s color palette.
The feel of the perfume is cool and romantic, professional and chic and a little flirty. It’s elegance and confidence with a little wink, which is exactly Lawyer Barbie’s vibe.
Where to Find Nomade Eau de Parfum by Chloé
You can find samples and decants of Nomade EdP at Scent Decant.
It’s also available on ScentBird, a monthly decant subscription service.
President Barbie: Fancy Eau de Parfum by Jessica Simpson
Issa Rae’s President Barbie is a queen.
Well, she isn’t, actually. She’s a president. But she’s a fancy Barbie nonetheless, and she’d wear a fancy perfume to match.
By fancy, of course, I mean simple, warm, approachable, and comforting while still being powerful. I mean none other than Fancy by Jessica Simpson.
One of the sweetest, pinkest perfumes on this list, Fancy is a cascade of decadent caramel, pear and apricot, red berries, and brown sugar, all atop a rich musky base of vanilla and almond.
It matches the soft empathetic side President Barbie balances with — nay, channels into — confident leadership. Sure, we see President Barbie as a tough gal, lover of pants and dispenser of the PG-13 film’s one allotted “fuck,” but she’s got her unabashedly feminine side too, on display in her love of pink and her Suffragette-core pastel sash.
Fancy speaks to this side of President Barbie. It’s got a bit of that nostalgic pink-scented-dollhouse vibe to it while still coming off as clean and polished. It’s decadent, indulgent, rich, yet simple and straightforward enough to compliment any outfit. This is the carefree side President Barbie lets loose every night at girl’s night, and it can be yours, too.
Where to Find Fancy Eau de Parfum by Jessica Simpson
You can find samples and decants of Fancy EdP at Microperfumes.
Doctor Barbie: Fantasy Eau de Parfum by Britney Spears
Doctor Barbie is an invaluable member of the Barbie community — for her medical prowess, but also for her friendship, love of music, and style. She balances a professional demeanor at work with a love for partying and joking around. Her pink, sparkly wardrobe reflects that fun-loving attitude, and she needs a perfume that does, too.
How about Fantasy by Britney Spears?
Fantasy is sweet, pink, and incredibly fun. It’s a party-all-night scent, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is a Barbie that can do her incredibly important job while always making time to unwind with friends, and this is a perfume that embraces that unwinding.
Fresh kiwi, red lychee, and quince top notes lend a fresh sparkle that matches Doctor Barbie’s glittering wardrobe. The white chocolate and cupcake notes at the heart of the perfume bring out her caring side, while the base notes of orris root and musk wrap you in a big caring you’ll-be-better-in-no-time hug.
And, being a Britney Spears perfume, it’s perfect for the music-loving Doctor Barbie, who moonlights as the DJ for the group at Stereotypical Barbie’s nightly parties.
Where to Find Fantasy Eau de Parfum by Britney Spears
You can find samples and decants of Fantasy EdP at MicroPerfumes.
Judge Barbie: Fils de Joie Eau de Parfum by Serge Lutens
Serge Lutens’ Fils de Joie is one of the more serious, grown-up perfumes on this list. It’s perfect for one of the more serious, grown-up Barbies. Judge Barbie’s role is an essential one, and her black robes and attentive listening attest to her commitment to doing the work without ostentation or frills.
Fils de Joie is beautiful in a simple, natural, botanical way. It smells just like blooming night jasmine on a humid summer night, flowery and dizzying in its magic. Like Judge Barbie, Fils de Joie lets down her hair at night, effortlessly morphing from a simple, minimalistic hint of scent to a mesmerizing thing of beauty.
It also goes well with Judge Barbie’s wardrobe, with is full of floral prints and botanical motifs. With this love of flowers, the jasmine-blossom-laden Fils de Joie fits right into Judge Barbie’s wardrobe, right between the black robes and the Filipiniana.
Even when wearing her black robes for work, Judge Barbie could wear a subtle hint of Fils de Joie to keep that love of flowers and tropical motifs with her.
Where to Find Fils de Joie Eau de Parfum by Serge Lutens
You can find samples and decants of Fils de Joie EdP at Scent Split.
Want more? You can find full bottles at StrawberryNet.
Journalist Barbie: Loukhoum Eau de Parfum by Keiko Mecheri
Journalist Barbie is a boss. She’s a no-nonsense, power-suit-loving woman who keeps doing her job with directness and professionalism even when times get tough. She’s quite professionally accomplished, winning both a Pulitzer Prize and a Nobel Prize for Journalism (a prize that does not actually exist, but maybe it should).
Journalist Barbie has a simple but striking professional style. She’s incredibly committed to her work and dresses the part, but she also loves pretty things. Her pastel-colored power suits and minimal gold jewelry speak to a love of the simple, professional, and, of course, pink.
A simple, classic pink asset for her wardrobe? Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum. The Turkish-delight-inspired perfume is simple and delicious. Rose petals, honey, hawthorn, vanilla, and tons and tons of almonds melt into a decadent delight that’ll make your heart skip a beat. It’s a reminder of the passion Journalist Barbie carries for her work, and its cozy, comforting nature is sure to put interviewees at ease when they’re camera shy.
The soft, powdery-pink texture of Loukhoum blends right in with Journalist Barbie’s sweet and simple wardrobe. It’ll last for days on end in her clothes, making it a great signature scent for her simple, uniform TV outfits.
And there’s something about it that just feels like pale pink satin and sparkle, her other great sartorial love aside from the suits. Loukhoum would make a great subtle and long-lasting day-to-night scent, carrying Journalist Barbie from a long day at work to a party with all her friends in classic style.
Where to Find Loukhoum Eau de Parfum by Keiko Mecheri
You can find samples and decants of Loukhoum EdP at Scent Split.
Diplomat Barbie: Journey Woman Eau de Parfum by Amouage
The branding of Nicola Coughlan’s character as Diplomat Barbie has always puzzled me. First of all, why is she tasked with announcing Nobel Prize winners? And secondly, how can Barbieland even have diplomats? Where is she going?
Regardless, Diplomat Barbie is a woman who, at least theoretically, is quite familiar with the thrill of a journey. Which is why Journey Woman by Amouage would be her perfect signature.
Sweet and sophisticated, Journey Woman is lit up by notes of honey and apricots, jasmine tea, mimosa, and warm spices. It’s a golden, shining, honeyed sort of scent, one that sings of journeys to faraway lands and glows with confidence and welcome.
It’s the perfect sweet scent of strength for an ostensibly well-traveled woman like Diplomat Barbie, and perfectly represents the sweet warmth she extends to all the other Barbies.
Where to Find Journey Woman Eau de Parfum by Amouage
Midge: Curve Crush Eau de Toilette by Liz Claiborne
Is Midge technically a Barbie? My first thought is yes — since Barbie is treated more as a shared gender identity than a name — but then, Alan is treated as something distinctly different from Ken, so who knows.
In any case, Midge is a doll who’s all about soft, gentle femininity. In real life, the doll was released in the sixties amid backlash to what was perceived as the excessive sexuality of Barbie.
Midge was supposed to be Barbie’s less sexualized friend and next-door neighbor, sporting slightly less makeup and a marriage to a nice boy named Alan followed by an educational (and swiftly discontinued) pregnancy.
This Barbie sidekick is all about soft, gentle, maternal femininity, and she’d love wearing Liz Claiborne’s Curve Crush.
The incredibly comforting perfume feels like wearing the perfect horchata or chai latte. It surrounds you with the smells of milk and vanilla, warm spices and tea. It’s incredibly musky, soft, and warm, enveloping you in its cozy embrace all day long.
It’s the sweet girlish innocence of having a crush, the comfort of a mother who knows exactly what to say. It’s completely and utterly Midge.
Where to Find Curve Crush for Women Eau de Toilette by Liz Claiborne
Weird Barbie: cyBorg Queen Extrait de Parfum by Aether Arts Perfume
Ugh, I love Weird Barbie. The idea of that poor tortured doll we all degraded and defaced turning into a sage spiritual leader for the Barbies is just… *chef’s kiss*
Of course, Mattel selling a pre-messed-up Weird Barbie doll modeled after the character in the movie is ridiculous. The whole point of a Weird Barbie is making your own. Ah, consumerism.
Perhaps I shouldn’t make too many jabs at consumerism in an article where I’m shilling perfume based on a movie based on an entity owned by a multinational toy conglomerate. Stones in glass houses and all that.
Weird Barbie is weird. She smells weird. In fact, she smells, per the movie, “like basement.” But she’s also a striking spiritual leader, a Barbie confident in her weirdness, the face of a revolution. There’s something compelling and comforting about her frank Midwestern attitude and perpetual splits. Something that makes other Barbies follow her and flock to her in their own times of need.
But she’s also, you know, weird. And smells like basement.
Weird Barbie would wear something niche and strange. Something like cyBorg Queen by Aether Arts Perfumes. (Yes, that is named after the Borg Queen from Star Trek.)
There’s a sweet, soft almond note representing her protective side and a cavalcade of melting-plastic-and-wires notes representing her singed, bent-up, forgotten state. A dizzying indolic jasmine note represents her flowering beauty past and her fall from doll perfection to her strange and shunned current state.
All wrapped up in a compelling, exquisitely comforting skin and musk accord, reminding you that somehow, despite — or really, because of — her weirdness, Weird Barbie is the most human Barbie of all.
Depression Barbie: Yesterday Haze Eau de Parfum by Imaginary Authors
Depression Barbie was more of an assumed identity for Barbies having a midlife crisis rather than an original Barbie identity, but in my book that’s a Barbie nonetheless, and the poor miserable gal deserves a perfume she can wear while eating a family-size pack of Starbursts and re-watching the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth).
And that perfume is none other than Yesterday Haze by Imaginary Authors. It’s sweet and fruity, creamy and pink, but in a way that’s faraway and forlorn, soaked in nostalgia and bitter dust.
Fruity notes, whipped cream, powdery iris, and bitter walnut combine to form a weird and wonderful nostalgic gourmand. It’s sweet like red berries and doll’s heads and childhood but it’s also laced through with bitterness and an incredibly heavy impression of dust, of being useless, forgotten and unwanted.
This is the smell of the scented Barbies that have been packed up and left in an attic for years. It would make the perfect perfume for the imperfect Depression Barbie.
Where to Find Yesterday Haze Eau de Parfum by Imaginary Authors
You can find samples, decants, and full bottles of Yesterday Haze EdP at Scent Split.
Proust Barbie: Memoire d’une Odeur by Gucci
Yes, this was a one-off gag and not an actual on-screen or real-life Barbie doll (although Lucy Boynton is credited for the role), but it’s a hilarious line and I think Proust Barbie deserves a perfume too.
Proust Barbie is mentioned when Stereotypical Barbie says she is having real Proustian flashbacks on smelling an old familiar smell. This is a reference to a famous passage of Proust’s novel in seven volumes, whose title is translated as either In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past. It’s in the first volume, Swann’s Way.
In the passage, the narrator is gripped by a powerful sense of pleasure and emotion on biting into a madeleine cookie soaked in tea. He knows the taste brought him back to something to elicit that wonderful feeling, some memory, but he can’t quite pin down what that memory is, and the more he tries to revisit the sensation, the more it is diluted and fades away, out of his grasp.
I like to think that this mixture of sensory pleasure, memory, and grappling with the fundamental impermanence of both formed the inspiration for the fictional Proust Barbie.
So let’s give her a perfume that smells just like that nostalgic madeleine dipped in tea. How about Gucci’s Memoire d’une Odeur?
This simple, contemplative fragrance blends the smells of chamomile tea and a delicate almond-vanilla accord. The calming herbal scent of the tea meets the sweetness of the gourmand accord and results in a perfume that’s calm yet entirely lost in thought, bohemian and a little subversive.
Not only is it the smell of little pastries and tea, but it’s the scent of an insistent memory, one you can’t quite pin down amid the gauzy, idyllic unreality of tea time.
Even the name of the fragrance — literally translating from French to “the memory of a scent” — evokes a sense of nostalgia and remembering. It’s a subtle, airy, mysterious scent, fluid like water, like the waters of the rivers Lethe and Mnemosyne, of memory itself. The result is a gentle, musky comfort perfume that defies description, subtle and elegant and strange.
It’s what Proust Barbie would have wanted.
Mémoire d’une Odeur Eau de Parfum by Gucci
You can find samples and decants of Mémoire d’une Odeur EdP at Scent Decant.