‘Ken-ergy’ is the talk of the town now that we’re in the thick of Barbie fever. Whether you’ve caught the film in theatres or just the trailer, you’ve probably seen the exuberant spirit of Ryan Gosling’s ditzy and lovable character. But there’s more than meets the eye to this hunky piece of plastic, and BAZAAR is here to break it all down for you.
What is ‘Ken-ergy?’
Ken plays a real feminist role in the film as the perfect accessory to Barbie, giving her the spotlight to shine like the star she is. But it’s clear from the get-go that Ken feels some pressure to live up to the standards of the gorgeous, strong man he appears to be, as he overreacts with envy towards other Kens, overestimates his own capabilities and struggles to figure out who he actually is.
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While there’s no working definition for Ken-ergy, it’s essentially Ken’s polished, fragile yet innocent ego. Throughout the film, he just wants to be the best version of himself, and be seen by those he loves most. (Spoiler alert: things only come to a head when he doesn’t end up receiving the recognition he thinks he deserves, and resorts to becoming a cult leader back in Barbieland out of spite.)
We wouldn’t be surprised if this is a cleverly-engineered character arc designed by director Greta Gerwig to shine a spotlight on the expectations men face in today’s society, and their struggle to meet them. It’s no secret that men are are also held to certain standards on how to behave and how they present themselves.
This secondary storyline for Ken is one of the greatest takeaways from this box office hit, to show the men in our lives it’s okay to not be okay, and make them feel ‘kenough’ whenever appropriate.
Ken-ergy In Fashion
In terms of fashion, Ken-ergy is communicated through colourful and sexy outfits that highlight your arms, pecs and abs, much like the menswear collections which have hit the runways in recent years.
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Fashion has entered an era where men can embrace femininity without challenging the traditional norms of masculinity, giving them a platform to be as playful as they like.
Designer Jonathan Anderson’s menswear lines for both his eponymous label and Loewe never shy away from an expansive colour palette and sultry designs that are more commonly seen in womenswear, such as plunging necklines and dresses masquerading as blazers.
Fashion houses from the likes of Dior featured sheer tops and 3D floral embellishments in their fall/winter 2023 collections, while Fendi showcased an array of toga tops and Rick Owens served skirts galore.
Get The Ken-ergy Look
Leaning into the hype of the movie, we’ve curated a few outfits based on Gosling’s best premiere looks for us to channel our inner Ken-ergy as we embark on our second, third or maybe fourth viewing of Barbie – check ‘em out below.
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