Conference Paper

The Future in the Past: Exploring Barbarella’s Intergalactic Catwalk


Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén

Popular Culture Association National Conference PCA/ACA


Despite its controversial reception in 1968, Barbarella (Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica, 1968) looms large in popular culture. Disguised under its sartorial splendor, the film’s narrative clearly negotiates social anxieties of the late ‘60s. Similarly, its production design incorporates contemporary elements present in art, architecture and fashion that stand today as a symbol of the space age design. Arguably, these elements of style, along with its camp representation of the future, played a key role in catapulting the film to its cult status. Spanish designer Paco Rabanne is frequently credited for the creation of Jane Fonda’s onscreen parade of highly stylized costumes. Moreover, fashion magazines oftentimes associate the overall aesthetic of his brand to his past contrubution in the film, which has served for framing runway shows and inspiring collections to date.

However, the man responsible for creating fashion for Roger Vadim's vision of the year 40,000 was French costume designer Jacques Fonteray. The case of Paco Rabanne and Barbarella serves as an interesting example of how popular culture appropriates history, contributing to the construction of myths through media. Grounded on archival research, this article explores the role of Jacques Fonteray in the overall creation of the Jane Fonda's costumes, debunking popular misconception regarding Paco Rabanne’s influence on the film’s overall aesthetics.

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  • Type:
    Conference Paper (other academic)
  • Conference:
    Popular Culture Association National Conference Pca/Aca
  • Published:
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About the Author

Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén

Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Media Studies. She holds a Doctoral degree in Fashion Studies and a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies from Stockholm University, and a Licentiate degree in Public Relations fr... Read more


Castaldo Lundén, E. (2016). The Future in the Past: Exploring Barbarella’s Intergalactic Catwalk. In: Popular Culture Association National Conference PCA/ACA. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2022].