For spring/summer 2023, Halpern teamed up with Mattel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse, which it said, "represents the birthplace of any child's imagination: the home".
For this collection, designer Michael Halpern produced eight looks dedicated to Barbie, for her to wear in her Dreamhouse. To get inspiration, he was given access to the Mattel archives, to delve into Barbie’s wardrobe through the ages, and discovered three motifs that “particularly evoked” his childhood memories: the chevron pattern, polka dots and sunset palette.
He used these instantly recognisable Barbie motifs to bring the Barbie Dreamhouse party to life with glamorous floor-length silhouettes featuring sequins, chevrons, and ruffles. Looks that any Barbie doll and Halpern girl would love to wear.
Fabulous house parties in general informed the rest of the collection, inspired particularly by those thrown by his own mother, a banker by day and a disco girl by night, in Upstate New York in the 1970s and early '80s. This was highlighted with plunging leopard-print gowns and rainbow-coloured looks with pleating in shapes gathered, twisted, and ruffled, and of course, lots of sequins.
The collection also introduced Halpern’s first-ever velvet looks, with dresses draped and fluted in classic leopard-print velvet, alongside a series of ink black velvet dresses hand-embroidered with sunburst motifs in black and gold.
Halpern also opened the show with a beautiful and silent tribute to the Queen, a periwinkle blue cape, complete with a mint headscarf, inspired by an outfit that Her Majesty wore to the Opera.
In the show notes, Halpern added: “This year, I will be receiving British citizenship. I came here for my education at Central Saint Martins in 2017. Ever since, I have called this country home. I have been welcomed here with open arms in ways I could never have anticipated. For my spring-summer 2023 show, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the UK and honour the Queen.
“The blue look that opens the show in silence is a tribute to Her Late Majesty, engulfed in the hues and silhouette that, for me, evoke a reign that promoted creativity, openness, and a widespread support for creative freedom. This singular look is a way for me to show my gratitude to the Queen for encouraging designers like myself to express in the only way we know how: through the power of fashion and optimism. It has always been my ethos that, in times of darkness, I look to the fantasy of fashion for its optimism and strength. This particular instance is exactly that.”