Barbie, the long-limbed American icon, celebrated her golden birthday in style with a bash at New York Fashion Week. What did she get? A runway show in her honor, where big-name designers such as Betsey Johnson and Reem Acra created looks based on her.
After all, Barbara Millicent Roberts always managed to make an entrance -- even if that introduction eventually resulted in a new, uneven cropped ‘do or perhaps a swapped head or two. She first appeared in 1959 at the New York Toy Fair where parent Mattel Inc. said she was to “mirror the sophisticated glamour of 1950s stars like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor, donning high arched brows, pursed red lips, a sassy pony tail with curly bangs and a coy, sideways glance.”
Here’s a look at some of Barbie’s other noteworthy looks, as well as some of the years they were in stores.
Not so much an ode to fellow style icon Audrey Hepburn, whose film “Roman Holiday” came out in 1953, this Barbie seems more like a tribute to TV sitcom star Lucille Ball. According to Fashion-Doll-Guide.com, this look is one of three ensembles created in 1959, although Mattel issued a reproduction in 1994 for Babs’ 35th birthday.
All dressed up and ready for work, Barbie gets a job in the industry she knows best. A bit of a job shifter, Barbie has had more than 108 careers, including a flight attendant for several airlines, a ballerina, an actress, a U.S. Army officer (with a uniform that was approved by the Pentagon), an Olympic swimmer and a TV chef.
But why work when you can catch a ride on the open road? Barbie’s hairdo will stay intact if she takes the hardtop down, and she has a map so Ken, who debuted this year, wouldn’t have to ask for directions.
Like 1963’s Fashion Queen Barbie, Mattel states that Miss Barbie showcased “the elaborate hairstyles of the mid-'60s.” Both dolls had the option of modeling three different wigs when they got sick of their molded hairstyles.
Miss Barbie also had “sleep eyes” that opened and shut when she needed her beauty sleep, and bendable legs when she needed a rest from the pageantry.
A fan of the British Invasion, this Barbie could twist from the waist. She also embraced the trends of the moment: her bright orange bikini was modeled after the one Marilyn Tindall wore in that years Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, plus Barbie’s makeup was lighter and her hair was straight.
According to Mattel, Barbie got a dose of Flower Power and donned bell bottoms shortly after Woodstock. The company says this is when the “Barbie Country Camper travels to the great outdoors as ‘the youth’ become more inspired by nature.”
Perhaps the most famous themed Barbie, this surfer girl was said to give girls a taste of fun in the California sun, even though Barbie is actually from Wisconsin.
“Malibu Barbie debuted with a new face sculpt, including the addition of an open smile with pearly white teeth,” according to Mattel. “And, thanks to the groundswell of the feminist movement and female empowerment, her sparkling blue eyes faced forward for the first time.”
It only it were this easy for the rest of us: Barbie’s hair could be curled and twisted for feathered hair fashions. Not to be left out, there was also Mod Hair Ken. Check out the commercial for more styling tips.
After her third major face change, Barbie heads to the dance floor to show off her “wide smile and fuller hair, blue shimmer eye shadow, brightly painted eyes, and pale pink lip gloss that were in-step with the glittering disco glam look found gyrating on dance floors across the country.”
Don’t be fooled by that proper workplace attire, this commercial shows that skirt turns around to reveal a fancier number so that Barbie can work from 9 to 5 and be ready for a night with Ken in a jiff.
David Lee Roth? Please. Barbie was the ultimate blond fronter for big-hair bands.
I think Mattel said it best: Barbie “rocks the 80s scene with big hair, big shoulder pads and all the other fashion faux pas wed like to forget from the decade.” Except these trends keep coming back.
“As the fashion world became more body conscious, so did Barbie,” according to Mattel. “Jewel Girl Barbie underwent a millennial makeover featuring a new, more athletic physique, a bendable, flexible waist and her first belly button. Always ready for a party, her hipster slim pants, crop top and fresh-colored pastel jacket could go from day to night in a flash. Bring on that personal touch her stick-on fashion jewels allowed girls to customize the outfit or accessorize their own rock star-inspired look. “