Many of us who played with Barbies have discarded our old doll clothes and accessories to the wayside. This is not the case with Sara Gallo, who features Barbie shoes prominently in her jewelry line. Her colorful earrings, bracelets, and necklaces bring feelings of nostalgia and whimsy, whether you’re still a Barbie fan or not.
As a young child, Sara Gallo was already an accessory designer, constructing flower crowns out of dandelions. Middle school didn’t hinder her love for crafting, as her friends would come to her for handmade feather pens à la Cher in Clueless. In college, the ceramics class she requested was full, fatefully bringing her to enroll in a metal-making jewelry course. This is when her love for making jewelry became an obsession.
After graduation, Sara taught art classes and exhibited her Barbie doll-inspired work in craft shows. Before long, her designs were featured on Fab.com as well as in spreads for Vogue — courtesy of Barbie fan Anna dello Russo.
Through email, Sara talked to us about her colorful, Barbie-inspired work, including her latest designs — Barbie shoe clothes!
HelloGiggles: How did you decide to incorporate Barbie shoes into your jewelry?
Sara Gallo: After I had been visiting home from college and going through my old things, I pulled out my beloved Barbie box (don’t we all have one?) and gathered up all of the shoes. At the time I had organized bins of things I had collected — things like watch keys, cute mini erasers, used contact lenses, and tampon use instructions. (If I made a list, it’d just get weirder.)
Anyway, I gave my Barbie shoes their own bin and when I got back into my studio, I drilled holes in each shoe and strung them into a bracelet. It was so fun to wear and started many conversations, which left me feeling inspired to track down more Barbie shoes. I went to yard sales and got on eBay. After accumulating several of the same shoes, I began creating abstract designs. The Classic Pink Barbie Shoe Bracelet is made of about 50 of the same pink pump! The shoe became a form to work with and was no longer readily recognizable. This opened up endless design possibilities and many new styles emerged.
HG: How did the Barbie shoe clothes come about?
SG: I’ve always had soooo many Barbie shoes (literally two billion at one point) that I felt compelled to just jump into a massive pile of them and go swimming! I’ve had some photo shoots in which models did just that. The way they feel being worn as jewelry is an entirely different experience than wearing them as clothing. I wanted to incorporate the aesthetic of my jewelry designs into couture art pieces that offer a whole new experience.
HG: Are you a huge Barbie fan yourself?
SG: I’ve always loved Barbie and yes, I have A LOT of Barbies… but I only collect the Holiday Barbies. It’s been a tradition for my mom and me for over two decades. What I’m truly a fan of is Barbie’s accessories. I like to go through the toy aisle and see what’s new in Barbie’s wardrobe!
HG: What’s coming up next for you?
SG: I have several projects in the pipeline and ones that will be available very soon! I make a few other lines of jewelry, including Miss Menses, which includes silver tampon earrings, menstrual cup tiaras, and birth control brooches. I’ve been expanding on that series, so expect some new items in my shop!
I’m also super excited about my newest line, called Bad Bitch Signets. Expect traditional and simple signet ring shapes (like hearts, circles, and hexagons), but with not-so-traditional emblems like “Pussy,” “Femme,” and “Nasty.”