She’s a business woman, a beauty queen and a big sister. She lives in a dream house, travels in a luxury RV and scoots around town in a customized convertible. And at 50, she still boasts a smooth complexion, perky breasts and legs that won’t quit. If we didn’t love her so much, we’d hate her. Barbie: one name, so many memories.
For many, she was our first style icon, and in commemoration of her 50th birthday 50 designers created one-off looks for a runway presentation held during New York fashion week. Sequined body suits courtesy of Alexander Wang and Rachel Roy, a retro ‘60s polka dot bikini by Norma Kamali, a prom-perfect pink and gold mini dress by Rebecca Taylor, an abstract American flag dress from Catherine Malandrino, and countless yards of frilly fabric cut and stitched by the likes of Bob Mackie, Vera Wang and Marchesa made for one very unique show. Not to mention the custom-made Barbie pink Louboutins that each model sported.
“Barbie represents classic glamour,” says Kimberly Gray, a New York-based stylist who came to the show with her own mini-Barbie-me in tow. “I had over 20 Barbie dolls when I was a little girl and my favourite was the Miss America one.”
An American archetype for fresh-scrubbed glam, Barbie came on the scene in 1959 as a teenaged model and quickly set about to revolutionize the way girls played with dolls. She’s been dressed by some of the biggest names in fashion — Dior, Givenchy, Versace, Armani — and has dabbled in the medical, veterinary, legal and aerospace professions. Barbie has had her run-ins with controversy over the years: feminists often deride her impossible body measurements and Aryan features. And despite an impressive professional CV, she set her sisters back a few decades when she declared, “Math class is tough!” in 1992. But throughout it all, she’s managed to maintain her poise and dignity, always smiling sweetly and dressing to kill.
What better way, then, to pay respect to the princess of pink than to wear her hue in honour of her big day? From fuchsia to bubblegum, Barbie fans of all ages were thinking pink. And the result was picture perfect indeed.
Image courtesy of Mattel.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter