She’s an undisputed style icon who has stood the test of time – over five decades to be precise – and she’s now a social media phenomenon. Yep, we’re talking about Barbie, the doll with a global following, her very own Instagram account and a prolific fashion status. In recent years, we’ve seen high profile collaborations with everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Jeremy Scott (he dedicated his entire collection for Moschino SS15 to her) and a brand new range of Barbie Fashionista Dolls, complete with varying skin tones and eye colours and it doesn’t end there.
The one thing we all know about Barbie is that she only wears heels. In fact, her feet are engineered to look like they’re permanently perched in a pair of 4-inch pumps but thankfully, that’s about the change. The newest set of dolls will include Barbies with adjustable ankles, meaning she can finally wear both heels and flat shoes like the rest of us and it’s about time!
Flats have been making the headlines in a big way lately after feathers were ruffled at Cannes where stars were turned away from the red carpet for wearing them. And, just when we thought we couldn’t love Dutch model Lara Stone any more, she made a statement at the glitzy amFAR gala by wearing flats in protest. Emily Blunt was quick to declare that she’d rather be in Converse during Cannes and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen defied convention by swapping heels for ballet flats and loafers to pick up their Womenswear Designer of the Year gong at this CFDA Awards this week too!
In an exclusive interview with V magazine, Barbie spoke about her love of the way fashion is changing. ‘The whole dynamic of the international fashion weeks has changed so much since the salon-style presentations when I was born. I love the fact that… the breadth of fashion is all encompassing, from formalwear and party dresses to streetwear and even the more risqué offerings—I like to be challenged as a show-goer!’
And what about her famous friends? Did you ever wonder how she felt when Moschino’s model army paraded down the runway in outfits dedicated to her? ‘I have so many favorite designers and of course lots of friends in the industry,’ said Barbie, ‘Including Karl Lagerfeld, who I collaborated with on Barbie Lagerfeld last year; Roksanda Ilincic, who designed a new Barbie Dreamhouse for me in collaboration with SHOWstudio; Nick Knight, who I’ve interned with; and many, many more. Since Jeremy Scott moved to L.A. we’ve been able to spend a lot more time together, as you know. I inspired his summer Moschino collection, which is such an honor.’
See? Even Barbie had to intern.
The interview is accompanied with a series of portraits taken by American artist Laurie Simmons, who also happens to be mum to Lena Dunham, no less. But all these fashion and art collabs are nothing new for the famous doll, as she explains: ‘The first designer I collaborated with in the mid-’80s was Oscar de la Renta, so it was very sad to hear of his passing last year.’
We have to admit, we always wanted to know what Barbie really thinks about her relationship with Ken. Luckily, she addresses that very topic, stating: ‘Ken and I are happily dating and I feel lucky to have such a wonderful boyfriend. As far as getting married, I just don’t worry about it—the world is full of possibilities and right now every day feels like an adventure. I can’t say we never have to talk things through but we never fight—it isn’t in my DNA.’
It’s good to know that even Barbie and Ken have their problems. But what does the superstar think about being a role model? ‘’m so proud of what women are achieving today and remain committed to helping inspire girls and boys, sparking their imaginations and showing them that anything is possible. I’ve always encouraged girls to create roles for themselves. It’s often overlooked, but I did go to the moon before man landed there, and I was even a presidential candidate several years before Hillary Clinton. I crashed the plastic ceiling early on in my career, so I have a lot of respect and time for women breaking barriers and achieving their own goals. I get really inspired when I see women in exceptional roles in what was once seen as a man’s world and even more excited when I see them inspire the next generation of young women, who will in turn create more opportunities for future generations.’
Sounds like Barbie just silenced anyone who ever doubted her feminist beliefs.
And, in perhaps the best news of all, even Barbie has some fashion regrets. ‘I get hung up on silly stuff like how my hair is styled,’ she explains. ‘The billowing satin gown from Peaches ’n Cream was very full-on, but at the time (1985), I adored it, and a lot of Barbie collectors always say it’s a favourite.’
Bad hair days? We’ve all been there, Barbs.
By Hannah Banks-Walker