More than 1 billion outfits have been designed for Barbie since she debuted at a toy fair in 1959. Her high-fashion wardrobe includes contributions from more than 50 top designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein and Vera Wang.
Inventor Ruth Handler and Barbie’s first clothing designer, Charlotte Johnson, insisted on authenticity. As a result, Barbie’s outfits included features like tiny working zippers, luxurious liners and sparkly jewelry. Doris Day and Jacqueline Kennedy served as Johnson’s inspirations for Barbie’s early wardrobe.
Each year Mattel’s marketing team makes sure that Barbie gets recognized at New York Fashion Week via runway shows that highlight her evolving style. This year Barbie will model an updated version of her original black-and-white striped swimsuit in Sports Illustrated‘s 50th anniversary swimsuit issue. Work it, Barbie!
—Michael Q. Bullerdick
Barbie anniversary fun fact…
- Barbie’s inventor, the late Ruth Handler (a former president of Mattel Inc.), named the doll Barbara after her daughter? Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.