Girl of the Week: Barbie
A modern muse
reated by toy manufacturer Mattel back in 1959, good old 'Barbie' is a girl who has always been focussed on fashion. Specifically devised by Ruth Handler after watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticing that she often enjoyed giving them adult life roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants, and so realising a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, Mattel co-founder. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were the rest of Mattel's directors. But Ruth persevered and the rest – Ken, a series of collectable versions and many a dolls house with roof terrace and convertible sports car included – is history...
Her influence and inspiration runs deep for a woman made of plastic
In 2009 the ever-youthful Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday. The party included a runway show in New York during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, with the proceedings showcasing fashion's affection by fifty well-known designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Christian Louboutin each collaborating with the fictional character.
The now-famous Karl Lagerfeld Barbie that sold out via Net-a-Porter in one morning
Fast-forward to today and her huge following is generating profits for various collaborators worldwide. After a 2013 hook up with Coach, she has become quite the modern day muse for a succession of today's labels. Just take a look at Jeremy Scott's Spring/Summer 15 Moschino show for all you need to know about that. Her influence runs deep for a woman made of plastic, and the inspirational motivation of a voice that shouts "you can be anyone you want to be!" is being heard loud and clear, whatever your opinion of her visual stereotype. Just look at Dolly Parton for a real-life version of the impact the ethos can have.... And why not?
Moschino Spring/Summer 15
It seems the character who started life as 'Barbara Millicent Roberts' (yes, that really was the doll's original name) has come a long way, most recently being styled by the legendary Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and even boasting her own Instagram account. It's becoming Barbie's fashion world, and we just live in it.