Margot Robbie in Vivienne Westwood and Assael pearls as styled by Andrew Mukamal for the London Barbie film premiere (Getty), Assael Three Pearl earrings, Mattel’s Pink & Fabulous Barbie

Barbie: The World Tour – Andrew Mukamal and Margot Robbie Create Unforgettable Pearl Looks with Assael

Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig’s sensational Barbie film last summer grossed over $1.44 billion and became the highest grossing film of 2023, an incredible achievement, sparking a wave of female empowerment across the globe. The movie was premiered at several cities during the worldwide press tour, including Los Angeles, New York, Seoul, and London. For the press junket, Margot Robbie teamed up with stylist Andrew Mukamal to create some of the most memorable fashion looks of the decade.  According to Margaret Zhang, the editor in Chief of Vogue China, “Decades from now, The Year of Barbie will be regarded as an essential episode in the great paradigm shift – not in how the world saw women, but in how women saw themselves. This was, in no small part, propelled by the fashion narrative Margot and Andrew built around what could have been a smile-and-wave press tour.” Assael is proud to have played a part in this historic adventure.

The iconic fashion showcased in the press tour is the subject of a new Rizzoli book “Barbie: The World Tour” by Margot Robbie and Andrew Mukamal which is now available nationwide at Barnes & Noble as well as online at Amazon and Target. Margot herself described the book as “a peek behind the curtain to see the artistry, talent, effort, and time that goes into fashion. … It is an art form for so many people, and it’s an expression for other people.”

Margaret Zhang wrote an introduction to the book, including a conversation with Andrew and Margot. All of the quotes below are taken from the book and/or our correspondence with Andrew in preparing the pearl jewelry that Assael loaned for the tour.

Barbie, like pearls, has endured the test of time. And similar to pearls, she is enjoying a Renaissance as we women redefine ourselves and what Barbie means to us in the modern world. Just as pearls are getting a makeover with incredible new designs, so is Barbie. And Andrew’s contemporary fashion for the world tour shows how inspirational and meaningful fashion can be – it helps us express something about ourselves and our place in the world. 

“We are delighted to have been a part of it all,” says Peggy Grosz, Senior Vice President and Creative Director at Assael. “Pearls have become the enduring statement of feminine power and grace. Soft but strong. Sophisticated but understated. Personal yet universal… all at the same time.”

World Premiere Los Angeles – Pink & Fabulous Barbie

Pink & Fabulous Barbie look for the Los Angeles film premiere photo call, Margot Robbie in Valentino (Getty images) and a custom Assael three pearl earrings and a custom Assael Golden South Sea pearl bracelet. 

In May of 2023, stylist Andrew Mukamal reached out to Peggy Grosz, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Assael, based on his previous successful partnerships with Assael in styling looks for Zoë Kravitz on the red carpet at the BAFTAs and the SAG Awards.  Andrew was searching for accessories for two of Robbie’s looks for the global press tour. The first was for the Los Angeles photo call in support of the Barbie film’s world premiere. Using Mattel’s 2015 “Pink & Fabulous Barbie” as inspiration, Andrew worked with Valentino to produce a contemporary mini dress in Barbie’s iconic color. The polka dot pink and white dress was created in Valentino’s then Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s signature color “PP Pink.” 

To accessorize the look, Andrew contacted Peggy requesting a pearl bracelet and earrings – “White 3 Pearl Drop Earrings (from top – medium pearl, small pearl, large pearl)” and “Yellow Pearl Bracelet (brightest color possible).” He attached to his email request a snapshot of the “Pink & Fabulous” Barbie. Peggy was thrilled and honored to be asked. And because Assael did not have such pieces on hand, she delighted in the fun of making custom pearl pieces for Margot in advance of the June 11 fitting in New York. 

Peggy requested Margot’s’ wrist size and went to work exploring the deep inventory of magnificent pearls that Assael is known for. She consulted with Assael’s resident pearl specialist Tonny Cahyadi, who painstakingly poured over trays and trays of the most exquisite golden pearls to find the perfect specimens to create a beautiful, luxury replica of the bracelet worn by the Pink & Fabulous Barbie. Matching the color tones and choosing the perfect sizes of approximately eleven rare South Sea golden pearls became an intriguing project for Tonny. He explained that “There are different hues, as well as different overtones of color, in Golden South Sea pearls – all natural because the colors are produced organically by the oysters that make the pearls. The overtones in goldens can be greenish, pinkish, or orange-pink. Because Andrew asked for the brightest yellow, we had to find the pearls that were intense yellow both in hue AND in overtone. It was a fun challenge.”  He selected the sunniest Golden South Sea pearls, ranging in size from 15.4 – 16.6 mm for perfectly subtle graduation and then asked the Assael expert stringer to begin putting them into a bracelet.

Peggy also worked closely with Andrew to hunt for the perfection proportions for creating the three-pearl drop earrings. Comparing various millimeter sizes of pearls, they settled on the perfectly balanced trio, with the top medium pearl measuring 13.0 mm, the small middle pearl measuring 9.4 mm and the bottom large pearl measuring 16.0 mm. Once the most appropriate sizes were determined, Peggy could then work the magic of matching the quality and color tones in the white South Sea pearls. The finished earring turned out beautifully, and Margot wore the custom bracelet and earrings at the June 25th photo call for the movie’s world premiere in Los Angeles.

In the book, Andrew mused on the fun of it all, “It was just like a joy explosion for everyone.” Peggy agrees. “It is such fun to work with Andrew. He is the consummate professional and he has such amazing taste! And I always love a good reason to dig into the Assael inventory to find just the right pearls. It is a time-consuming challenge, given our 75+ years of pearl collecting, but what fun to pick out the very best and know that it will be paired with a gorgeous pink Valentino dress! And for me, knowing that it would be celebrated and appreciated by the Barbie fans out there made it all the more meaningful. I hope it inspires the Barbie-loving, ‘pearl girl’ in all of us!”

London Premiere – “Enchanted Evening” Barbie 

Enchanted Evening 1960 Barbie look for the London film premiere, Margot Robbie in Vivienne Westwood (Getty) and an Assael custom three strand south Sea pearl choker necklace with Assael South Sea pearl earrings

For the London premiere, given the presence of royalty in the city’s history and culture, Andrew opted for more of a regal look. For him, “It wasn’t just looking into the history of Barbie and the history of Mattel but also going into the knowledge that I had already accumulated just through work and interest in these different fashion houses and understanding their signatures, their codes, the things they are most famous for.” 

In the book, he also noted that “Barbie was also dressing on theme, like you were dressing for the location, for the city.”  And the British brand Vivienne Westwood immediately came to mind for London. Inspired by Mattel’s 1960 “Enchanted Evening” Barbie, Andrew requested Andreas Kronthaler, creative director at Vivienne Westwood, to make a modern version of the floor-length pink dress. The shredded white tulle stole added an edgy bit of punk to the otherwise soft ladylike gown.

For this look, Andrew requested from Assael a “3-Strand White Pearl Choker (medium to large/xl pearls)- want them stacked on the neck like the attached barbie doll)” and “White Round Pearl Studs (size xs to xl, maybe 5/6 different sizes).” Peggy and pearl expert Tonny embraced the challenging of fitting Margot’s neck perfectly. Tonny found the pearls to create three strands that would perfectly nestle one atop the other as a three-strand stacked choker. 

Then came the fitting to test the pieces on Margot’s wrist, neck, ears.  In the book Margot recalls, “There was one day when we did the most massive fitting. It lasted ten hours, it was in a giant studio in New York because we needed so much room. Every wall and space and table, every surface was covered in jewelry and shoes and bags and accessories, and racks and racks of clothes. And all the clothes were fluffy or feathery or sequined or metallic or tight-fitting. You couldn’t walk in and not have your face light up. And my assistant literally said, in the most hushed tone, ‘I think this is the best day of my life.’”

Assael publicist Duvall O’Steen hand carried all of the jewelry requested by Andrew, some $800K worth of pearls, to the NY studio, watching as deliveries from Chanel, Balmain, Valentino, and Versace showed up. Andrew ran the entire day like a conductor, surrounded by assistants who helped usher in the clothing racks, the trays of jewelry, and the boxes of shoes. One by one, each look was tried in its entirety, as snapshots were taken for reference and requests for modifications were made. When it came time for the Enchanted Evening 1960 Barbie look, Margot tried on the pearl earrings, and Andrew opted for the largest pair, measuring 16.1 mm. She then put on the three strands of magnificent South Sea pearls, but they were too long to wear as a choker, high on the neck. Andrew held the strands taut as photos were snapped, showing how many pearls needed to be removed from each of the three strands – approximately three from the top shortest strand, and two for the middle and bottom strands.  

Back at the Assael atelier, pearl expert Tonny explained that it was not so simple as removing a few pearls. To make the three strands wear beautifully on the neck, he had to start from the beginning, reconfiguring the entire layout of pearls to make the choker smaller. He explained that when he makes the layout, before any pearls are strung, he has to determine the sizes of the pearls, the graduation of each strand, and the number of pearls used in each necklace. “This length of necklace, the choker length, is the hardest,” says Tonny, “because it is very personal, depending on the size of the neck. In this case Margot has a lovely thin neck. When selecting the pearls, I had to put the three rows together to make sure they could ‘fit’ and ‘nestle’ properly when being worn.”  

The three strands create something of an optical illusion – they look the same, but the second row is actually ever so slightly smaller than the top, and the bottom row is actually the largest, again ever so slightly. The pearls are also slightly graduated as they go around the neck.  Tonny had to accomplish all of this while still matching the colors and the “color flow” for the strand. “Each pearl has to look perfect next to its neighbor pearl – that is how you manage the color flow. It is hard to match the pearls, but matching the color flow is the most challenging.”

Tonny also noted that his job is only part of the work. Assael is lucky to have an expert pearl stringer Julia Barua who has over 40 years of experience. After selecting the distinct layout of pearls, Tonny takes the pearls to Julia for stringing. “With only a regular stringer – one who is not so experienced – we may not have ever been able to match the pearls to Margot’s neck exactly.” Julia looks at the entire picture, including the desired length of the necklace and the sizes of the pearls. She can make miniscule adjustments during the stringing process by using different threads. Slightly thicker threads will create slightly thicker knots to help achieve the exact lengths required to make the strands nestle perfectly when worn.

And boy did they! Margot wore the strands and the stud earrings like royalty at the London premiere with the pale pink Vivienne Westwood gown with the white furry stole. The look went viral as fans on social media and the mainstream media alike touted Andrew’s glorious accomplishment with this look.

Barbie: The World Tour book Andrew Mukamal and Margot Robbie, published by Rizzoli available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.

The Barbiecore phenomenon in fashion was nothing short of astounding. Pink became the color of the moment, and fashion felt invigorated by the sense of fun reminiscent of playing dress up as a child. The extraordinary fashion coverage of Andrew and Margot’s red carpet looks from the world tour inspired women everywhere to dress up in style when going to see the movie. Margot noted her surprise at this new trend in the book. “I’d run into someone who’d just seen the movie, and they’d be wearing a pink sweater or a new pink jumpsuit, and they’d say, ‘I had nothing to wear to the Barbie movie, I went out and bought this for it.’ And I thought, I don’t remember there ever being an instance where people went out to buy an outfit to go see a movie. This does feel like an event.”

The head-to-toe fashion, complete with hats and head-dressing, the perfect pearls, handbags, and Christian Laboutin or Manolo Blahnik shoes made each look a striking sensation. Andrew and Margot created not what Barbie was but who she could be and who we can see when we try to see ourselves in her or her in us. It was a joy to watch it all unfold and a great privilege and honor for Assael pearls to have played a small part of it.

For more on the other gorgeous looks, check out Rizzoli’s New York Times best-selling book Barbie: The World Tour. To find the perfect pearl expression for your favorite Barbiecore look, visit and click through all of our collections

Be sure to express your own uniqueness by choosing the right pearls for you. That’s what Barbie would have wanted. As Margaret Zhang pointed out, “Moviegoers in their Barbie Best were just as much of a spectacle as the film itself – with fashion as a catalyst for their self-actualization. Just as Barbie intended.”

Feature image at top – Margot Robbie in Vivienne Westwood and Assael pearls as styled by Andrew Mukamal for the London Barbie film premiere (Getty), Assael Three Pearl earrings, Mattel’s Pink & Fabulous Barbie

If you liked this, you might also like:

Celebrities in Pearls – Stepping Out in Glow

Top Fashion and Jewelry Trends from the Spring/Summer 2024 Runways

Pearls and Diamonds – Forever Friends

Met Gala Jewels – Pearls on Parade

Articles you may also enjoy

Join our Mailing List

Classic Assael

Feeling inspired?

Consider this your invitation to the House of Assael. Find your closest luxury jeweler using our map search and start your journey to timeless elegance.