Perfectly proportioned, fashion savvy and classically sassy, Barbie evokes both nostalgic bliss and unattainable idealism.
Barbie’s plastic personality became idolized by impressionable young girls when she first came onto the toy scene in 1959. A solution to the mediocrity of paper dolls, Barbie embodied relatable style, femininity and vivaciousness with her first ensemble featuring a black-and-white swimsuit, white cat-eye sunglasses, black heels, square wicker handbag and a red lip.
An accessory to Barbie’s allure, envy filled the imaginative thoughts of girls who attempted to emulate Barbies’ appearances.
Diana Inzunza, an Arizona State University dietetics nutrition sophomore, said as a child she looked to Barbie’s glamorous ensembles and features to escape her all-but-plastic world.
“When I was a little older, I played with Barbies because it was my way of getting away from reality,” she said. “I would pick a Barbie that looked like me and I would pretend I was her.”
Although fabulously fashionable, Barbie’s figure presents an unrealistic aesthetic for those looking to have an ideal bust and waist line, Inzunza said.
“When I was older, I noticed Barbie’s boobs and how thin her waist line was,” she said. “Nobody has a body like Barbie’s, but I was a perfectionist and of course I wanted to have that body type.”
Through the decades, Barbie and her slender waist remained [a] fashionable as she transformed from vintage to mod and princess to mom. Barbie’s most recent style cites tattoo chic as inspiration with Tokidoki® Barbie, an inked doll who sports leopard leggings, a pink bob and a black skull-and-crossbones T-shirt. Barbie’s website describes the funky fashionista as “always ready for cutting-edge fashion” adding that, “she’s ready for fun in fashion-forward form!”
In creation of the fashionably savoir-faire doll, Mattel collaborated with Simone Legno, designer and founder of Japanese-inspired Tokidoki, to create the most recent addition to the Barbie family. Legno is one in a succession of designers who have crafted Barbie looks including fashions from Dior, Burberry, Calvin Klein and a variety of other labels, some of which created runway looks in celebration of Barbie’s 50th anniversary at New York Fashion Week’s Miss Plastic Fantastic.
An archetype for beauty, Barbie reflects modern trends as she leads her pretty-in-pink lifestyle. The only constant about Barbie is change and as fashion evolves, so will she.