Barbie’s 50th anniversary is March 2009. The landmark fashion doll and cultural icon launched in 1959, has been far more than a valued toy or a collector’s item, she has followed trends and set them. For good reason she reigns as No. 41 on the list of The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived.
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Yes, she has even inspired fashion designers. In honor of Barbie’s 50th anniversary, a tribute show was held at New York Fashion Week in February 2009 with 50 designers participating.
As the Daily Mail reports, the enduring popularity of Barbie may not be reflected in sales, which are down 8 percent, but she has won the admiration of designers as well as collectors.
Despite spanning five decades and 108 careers, including palaeontology, racing driving and presidential candidacy, the plastic-fantastic starlet has never let a hard day’s work get in the way of good grooming. [...]
It is perhaps her waning popularity in the west [sales are down 8 percent] that has seen the toy company open a six-story flagship store in Shanghai called House of Barbie, featuring a restaurant, spa and runway where girls can pretend to be fashion models. [...]
Jerry Oppenheimer, author of a book on Mattel called Toy Monster says: ‘It’s very clear that the taste of little girls who play with dolls has changed, ‘They have come into the 21st century, where they play on their own laptops, and have their own cell phones. ‘Dolls will be a part of their lives and Barbie will be part of that, but it will be a small window.’
Yet, designers including Diane von Furstenburg are rushing to dress her, there has even been an anniversary figure made of German chancellor Angela Merkel in her honour.
Source: Life in plastic: As Barbie rings in her 50th year, we look back at the iconic style that is still in vogue Visit to see more side-by-side photos. A video of the runway show is after the jump.
In total, Barbie has inspired or been muse to more than 70 designers including Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Vera Wang and Versace. Among those designers paying tribute to the Barbie 50th anniversary, is legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld who has designed a special Barbie collection, which will be on display in Paris, France in March 2009 at Collette. Several photos have been released of the collection, with model Baptiste Giabiconi playing the part of Ken. More photos here: Barbie and Ken by Karl Lagerfeld
New Zealand designer Karen Walke has also created a special Barbie 50th anniversary collections. Read more about it here: Barbie gets Kiwi makeover
More Barbie photos and video below.
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Barbie 50th Anniversary Runway at NY Fashion Week
Here is a compilation video showing 50 years of the iconic doll and her fashions.