More than two decades before anyone knew the term “Barbiecore,” there was one celebrity who epitomized the hot-pink-drenched fashion trend that has dominated runways, red carpets, the street style scene and social media feeds for the past year: Paris Hilton. Director Greta Gerwig may have cast Margot Robbie in the title role for July’s hotly-anticipated “Barbie” movie, but, in the early 2000s, Hilton was already the physical embodiment of a real-life Barbie. And in November 2001, the hotel heiress made a fashion statement that etched itself in the annals of noughties style. For a night out with then-bestie Nicole Richie — the pair made their way to watch Britney Spears perform in Las Vegas — Hilton’s outfit included a fuchsia-pink deep V-neck mini dress, pink sweatbands, arm cuffs as well as heels of the same color palette. To top it off, she wore a tiara, applied a glossy pink lip and pink eyeshadow and clutched onto a furry Barbie-branded handbag. As if thrown together in a too-cool-to-care way, the look as a whole worked perfectly. As the new millennium dawned, Hilton’s fame was kicking into high gear. While her and Richie’s groundbreaking reality TV show “The Simple Life” wouldn’t grace television screens until 2003, Hilton’s glamorous lifestyle and reign over the New York and Los Angeles socialite circles had already attracted much paparazzi attention. It was perhaps just a coincidence that “Legally Blonde,” a film that shared a fondness for abundant, frothy pink — and one that Hilton has expressed her love of — was released that same month Paris wore her pink concert outfit. But Hilton’s head-to-toe Barbie-inspired outfit offered an early glimpse at what was to come, for her and fashion itself. The roots of Barbiecore of course pre-date Hilton. Launched in 1959, Barbie was designed as an aspirational toy for little girls. In the years since, the doll’s style mirrored broader shifts in popular culture, reflecting trends specific to each decade. In the 1990s, Barbie began dabbling in the world of high fashion, with limited editions released by luxury labels such as Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and Ralph Lauren. During this decade, the genesis of what would become Barbiecore also began appearing on runways, with uber-feminine ensembles worn by the likes of supermodels Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Carla Bruni. Figure-hugging dresses in bubblegum pink and vibrant purples appeared in Valentino’s Fall-Winter 1992 Haute Couture show as well as in both Chanel’s and Thierry Mugler’s Spring-Summer 1994 ready-to-wear collections. For his Spring-Summer 1996 collection, Herve Leger sent Cindy Crawford, Karen Mulder and Eva Herzigova down the catwalk in dreamy pastel-colored two-pieces and teased up-dos. (Moschinos’s Barbie-themed Spring-Summer 2015 runway and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s striking hot pink Valentino Fall-Winter 2022 collection are recent examples of high fashion taking inspiration from Mattel’s plaything to the next level.) And while celebrities have since adopted the trend, particularly after the 2010s, Hilton undoubtedly led the pack, embracing the Barbie aesthetic in look after look — perhaps an exercise in branding as much as it was about the fashion. Today, we still see the heiress faithfully channeling the doll’s aesthetic. Last September, for example, Hilton walked Versace’s Spring-Summer 2023 show in a sparkly low-cut pink minidress, paired with a matching bridal veil, pumps and fingerless gloves. This January, she posted photos of herself visiting a property in the Bahamas that resembled a real-life Barbie dreamhouse. And in May, she attended Chanel’s Resort 2024 show in Los Angeles channeling — you guessed it — more Barbiecore, in a light pink ensemble with a matching tweed bag and patent leather Mary Jane heels. Hollywood has increasingly come to realize that pink is not just a color but a powerful fashion statement. As for Hilton? She’s been living in a Barbie-colored world this whole time.