GCDS Gave Bratz Dolls a Y2K Italian Makeover

GCDS Gave Bratz Dolls a Y2K Italian Makeover

by Ana Escalante

In fashion, channeling your inner child has been a key theme for several seasons now. For GCDS Co-Founders Giuliano and Giordiano Calza, the innocent, nostalgia-tinged memories of watching kids play dress-up via dolls turned into the Italian house’s latest endeavor: a glamorous collaboration with Bratz, the MGA Entertainment-owned doll series.

GCDS got the carte blanche to take over two collector’s edition dolls by dressing them up in some of the label’s most iconic runway looks — miniature versions of GCDS clothing including sultry embellished bodices, multicolored printed dresses, chic statement accessories and luxurious fur coats. Alongside the dolls lives a ready-to-wear loungewear collection reminiscent of the Y2K aesthetic boom taking over social media. There’s bralettes, sweatshirts and socks for the more chill fashion it-girl.

For Creative Director Giuliano Calza, the dolls far outlive the plastic confines of being classified as a toy — they’re seen as a deviation from the standard, with indisputable fashion sense, a hint of attitude and originality not found in other forms of children’s entertainment. With big lips, gold hoops and giant bobbleheads, the Bratz dolls represent a crucial breeding ground to be seen and heard at a pivotal age, according to Calza — something he hopes this latest collaboration inspires in younger generations.

“Growing up I was scared of who I really was, I had to learn through experiences. What made me feel like I wasn’t enough in some scenarios, now makes me feel like I belong and this is the message I want to give to the future generation,” Calza wrote. “Focus on ur path, u do u.”

PAPER chatted with Calza to discuss the label’s newest Bratz collaboration, the playful identity of GCDS and the powerful essence of being true to who you are in this industry.

Bratz are so iconic to many little boys and girls, past and present. Why did you choose these dolls over other brands for this collaboration?

I think we chose each other, we share so much values, both the mindset and some of this Y2K nostalgia, and I’ll never forget when a reporter at my very first show said, "So u do ugly fashion.” I remember being a young kid and hearing the same for these cute dolls. Just because they were “different." Time passed and as in every good fairy tale, time will tell. I’m really happy to live happily ever after with my galz.

There’s something so innocent and nostalgic about taking something from childhood and elevating it into a modern-day fashion perspective. Why did you decide to tap into the Bratz aesthetic specficially?

It’s actually what GCDS is about. Some call it childish, playful, weird. I really wanna hold on to the magic u live as a kid and make it pop culture. I used to be obsessed with Tweety Bird as a kid and I celebrated this fantasy… I think the world doesn’t need more heaviness, nor I wanna offer something conceptual in an Instagram based world. I like to charm my people with a good fantasy.

Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind the ready-to-wear garments and accessories from the collection. Do you have a favorite? I feel that if the Bratz dolls were real fashion girls and celebrities, they would live in the pieces 24/7.

I mean who doesn’t remember “PASSION FOR FASHION” … it is something that I even say to make serious people understand 'it’s fashion in the end' or make the air in the room lighter when something goes wrong. I am literally gonna wear this crop hoodie 24/7, also I did myself a more kawaii version of the dolls and turn it into a unisex print! We are all angelz!!!!

Tell me a bit about the outfits you chose for Sasha, Yasmin, and the rest of the dolls. They’re definitely serving looks.

Sasha celebrates one of my favourite shows. I built a green hill into a theater and it was called “once upon gcds” while Yasmin is the k-Hawaii runway with the giant dinosaurs; people attending the show can’t forget this toy coming alive, and feeling small like a kid. This was my direction for both of the shows and so once again, I wanna take the time from everyone’s crazy life and play a bit as a child.

The campaign photos, shot by aleia and Breakfast for Dinner Creative Studio, are so fun—almost scandalous. What was the inspiration behind all of these vignettes of the dolls?

I wanted to be spying as a kid into this fantasy lifestyle, making the audience part of it and celebrating these muses. aleia literally made the fantasy come to life, referencing Britney on Rolling Stones and a grown up entertainer. It just worked so well, and I always despite the idea of making a child word into a real life thing.

Photography: aleia and Breakfast for Dinner Creative Studio