Models at The Barbie Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Barbie, an American Icon turns 50 this year! Barbie Millicent Roberts, the busty blonde with the tiny waist made her debut at the 1959 New York Toy Fair. The creator was Ruth Handler and her husband, a co-founder of Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker. Ruth’s inspiration was her own daughter. According to an article in Nylon magazine Handler created Barbie “to satisfy her young daughter’s obsession with teenage life and fashion models” states Holly Siegel in the March issue.
The image at left is what a 50 year old Barbie might have looked like, but fortunately for her she will remain young, beautiful, athletic, smart and sexy forever!
Last week, Mattel rolled out the pink carpet for celebrities at the life-sized version of Barbie’s fabulous Malibu Dream House. Interior decorator Jonathan Adler decked out a real-life 3,500-square-foot pad overlooking the Pacific Ocean to look like the blond doll’s outrageous home. According to NewsDay, Jonathan thought to himself, “‘How would Barbie live?’ What I thought was Barbie would have a house that is glamorous, kittenish, chic, colorful and happy — as well as functional.”
Barbie’s life-sized bachelorette pad in Malibu.
Supermodel Heidi Klum taking a look at Barbie’s life-sized VW dream car.
Over the years, many designers have used Barbie as inspiration. In 2007, M.A.C. ran a Barbie Loves M.A.C. campaign showcasing Barbie-inspired hues (photo below). Well, on February 14th, designers, fashionistas and Barbie fans gathered to celebrate Barbie with The Barbie Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Designers who contributed fashion to the show include: Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Baby Phat, Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Catherine Malandrino, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Erin Fetherston, House of Field, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Monique Lhuillier, Nanette Lepore, Nicole Miller, Norma Kamali, Peter Som, Reem Acra, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Tracy Reese, Vera Wang, Vivienne Tam and Yigal Azrouel. Please take the time to see the video of the show –it’s simply amazing. It starts with a video tribute and then models show off Barbie fashions through the decades!
And speaking of the decades, did you know that any Barbie made before 1980 is considered “Vintage”? That’s right! The Malibu Barbie I played with as a child is “Vintage”. Hopefully, some of you remember her, too. If you’re like me and enjoy taking a trip down memory lane, check out the Barbie’s collectors site and search for your long lost girlfriends.
I was never one of those girls who cut Barbie’s hair or damaged her in any way. I treasured my Barbies. But if you were one of those other girls, and you know who you are. You are probably still harboring a bit of guilt. If you ever mutilated, microwaved, or otherwise hurt your little Barbie friend, there is a great article in Forbes about what that might have meant or not meant psychologically.
Some think that Barbie is responsible for giving women body image issues and eating disorders. In fact a West Virginia lawmaker is looking to ban Barbie, if you can believe it. In a time when so many children are obese, I think that this is ridiculous. We should all have lofty goals, including goals for our appearance. We may not make the goal, but we will come closer than we would if we had no goal at all.
Barbie is the ultimate “job hopper”, having over 100 careers ranging from Astronaut to Figure Skater to Presidential Candidate. Although Barbie never married, and never had children, she’s a strong, independent woman living the fabulous life! If you want to hear more from Barbie herself, check out this interview that Forbes had with Barbie!
– Miss A
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this hilarious YouTube video featuring the unauthorized “Cougar Barbie”! It’s hilarious!