While a majority of stars in Barbie play a version of the iconic doll, America Ferrera was one of the hit movie's only human characters. And for the press tour, Ferrera's stylist Karla Welch wanted to highlight The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants alum's individuality.
"I didn't style her like Barbie," Welch exclusively told E! News of the star, who wore a Rosetta Getty etched plaid pattern suit to the July 2 premiere in Seoul. "I styled her like America. We didn't lean into the character, we just leaned into who America is. I was like, 'Okay, if she's playing the human, let's make her super sharp and kind of like, not go literal Barbie.'"
Given that they have been working together for over 10 years, the CEO/Founder of The Period Company said Ferrera trusted her vision when it came to the press tour, explaining, "She just lets me do my thing."
The fitting process was "instinctual" for Welch, who admitted she and Ferrera did not initially plan for the star to wear so many black ensembles, which provided a stark contrast to Margot Robbie's primarily pink Barbie-inspired outfits.
"It wasn't some deliberate choice to make it black, but the internet went wild," Welch said of looks like this Tanya Taylor top and Veronica Beard pants at a July 3 press conference. "Like, 'Why is this Barbie wearing black?' But it was sharp and cool and sexy and strong."
Welch used accessories to bring a bit of the Barbie energy to Ferrera's outfits without relying on the doll's signature color.
"We were having a little bit of fun and always having like a shoe and a purse," Welch shared. (At the June 25 press junket in L.A. they paired a white Elie Saab with patent leather stilettos.) "Kind of like Margot was doing and Barbie always had that. So we have lots of little nods and Easter eggs, but we just didn't go pink."
Well, they almost never went for the bright hue...
Because the majority of Ferrera's looks were all-black, it made Welch's decision to put her in just "one pink" outfit—a blush pink St John crop top and skirt with bright pink accessories at the July 9 world premiere in Los Angeles—that much more impactful.
For the Barbie press tour, Welch explained that Ferrera "wanted to feel strong and sexy and was so willing to have fun."
A perfect example of that sartorial spirit? A Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo jacket that was part of a suit without the matching pants, which was Ferrera's suggestion for her June 30 look in Sydney, Australia.
The ultimate way to dress like Barbie, according to Welch?
"What we can learn from Barbie is that you can do whatever you want with Barbie," she explained. "That's the whole point of it. You can do whatever you want and say you're Barbie."
Pointing to the movie's theme of self-discovery, Welch encouraged fans to embrace their individuality through their clothes. "You can just say, 'This Barbie likes jeans and Birkenstocks,' and then you are the Jean and Birkenstock Barbie," she said. "So it's really your attitude."Ferrera delivered plenty of that in a bold, fitted Alex Perry dress in London July 12.
Should you find yourself wanting to add a pop of Barbie to your wardrobe without having to buy everything in pink, Welch suggested "a matching purse-shoe combination" as an easy option.
"I don't think you have to wear pink or anything like that to be Barbie," Welch explained. (She dressed Ferrera in a neutral-hued maxi in Mexico City July 7.) "I just love the energy behind it. It's so incredible that it's been so leaned into."
Pointing to "Day-to-Night" as her favorite Barbie doll growing up, Welch said she "gagged" when Robbie's stylist Andrew Mukamal recreated the iconic look at the Seoul premiere.
While she had a favorite Barbie look from when she grew up playing with the Mattel toy, Welch couldn't single out one of Ferrera's press tour looks as her most memorable.
"I love them all," Welch said, including Roland Mouret's black diamante maxi, chosen for the London premiere July 12. "I never play favorites because I have a styling rule is that I have to love every look that goes out my door."
With Barbie breaking box office records and Ferrera's performance—most notably her empassioned monologue about being a woman—receiving praise from critics and theater-goers, Welch gushed that she she is "so proud" of the Ugly Betty alum.
"It's highlighting what an amazing actor she is and how beautiful she is," Welch said of the film's success. "And globally, it's given her such amazing exposure."
And even before the world went wild for the movie, Welch said she and Ferrera (at a London press event July 13) were ready to party for Barbie."We just wanted to have fun with fashion," she shared. "And ultimately, that's what we do: we have fun, we look great."
"That marketing campaign is pretty unbelievable and exciting," Welch said of being part of the Barbie promotional tour. "And I personally just felt so excited for movies and for women filmmakers and actors."