Barbie, created by Ruth Handler in 1959, has become an iconic and influential toy for generations of children worldwide. Over the years, Barbie has undergone various transformations and represented different cultural trends and ideals. Ahead of the release of Greta Gerwig’s much-awaited Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, here is a closer look at all the famous Barbie dolls that have left a lasting impact on popular culture and the toy industry.
1. Original Barbie (1959)
The first-ever Barbie doll, known as the Original Barbie, made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in 1959. Designed as a teenage fashion model, Barbie was dressed in a black-and-white swimsuit, had platinum blonde hair, and was adorned with accessories such as sunglasses and high heels. This doll became an instant success and laid the foundation for the Barbie empire.
2. Malibu Barbie (1971)
In 1971, Malibu Barbie was introduced, capturing the spirit of the sun-kissed California lifestyle. With her tanned skin, long blonde hair, and vibrant beachwear, Malibu Barbie became a symbol of carefree summer fun. This doll represented a shift towards a more active and casual lifestyle for Barbie.
3. Black Barbie (1980)
Black Barbie made her debut in 1980, marking an important milestone for diversity and inclusivity in the Barbie line. With her distinctive facial features, dark skin tone, and unique hairstyles, Black Barbie was a breakthrough in representing diverse beauty standards. This doll was a step forward in ensuring that children of all ethnic backgrounds could see themselves reflected in Barbie.
4. Barbie as Princess Diana (1997)
In 1997, Barbie paid tribute to the late Princess Diana with a special edition doll. Dressed in an elegant replica of Diana's iconic blue gown, this doll celebrated the princess's grace and style. Barbie as Princess Diana honoured a beloved public figure and demonstrated Barbie's ability to capture historical moments.
5. Marilyn Monroe Barbie (1997)
One of the earliest celebrity Barbies released was the Marilyn Monroe Barbie in 1997. Capturing the essence of the legendary Hollywood actress and style icon, this doll showcased Monroe's signature blonde curls, glamorous makeup, and a replica of her iconic white dress from the film The Seven Year Itch. The Marilyn Monroe Barbie celebrated the enduring legacy of the iconic star and became a must-have for collectors and fans alike.
6. Audrey Hepburn Barbie (1998)
In 1998, Audrey Hepburn Barbie paid tribute to the timeless elegance and grace of the beloved actress. This doll depicted Hepburn in her iconic role as Holly Golightly from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's featuring a classic black dress, oversized sunglasses, and a chic updo. The Audrey Hepburn Barbie symbolised the epitome of sophistication and celebrated the enduring allure of Hepburn's style.
7. Katrina Kaif Barbie (2009)
Katrina Kaif joined the ranks of international icons like Marilyn Monroe, Shakira, Audrey Hepburn, Heidi Klum and Elizabeth Taylor, who have all been immortalised in Barbie dolls. In 2010, toy company Mattel India unveiled the Katrina Barbie, a doll modelled on the Bollywood actress. Kaif is the first Bollywood actress to have a Barbie doll crafted in her image. In 2009, as part of Barbie's 50th birthday celebrations, Katrina walked the runway at Lakme Fashion Week for the Barbie All Doll'd Up show, a contest for the best Barbie outfit. As the face of Barbie, Katrina wore the winning dress by designer Nishka Lulla on the runway.
8. David Bowie Barbie
In 2019, Mattel paid tribute to the legendary musician and cultural icon David Bowie with the David Bowie Barbie doll. Inspired by Bowie's alter ego Ziggy Stardust, this doll showcased his vibrant and theatrical style with a metallic jumpsuit, platform boots, and a fiery red mullet hairstyle. The David Bowie Barbie celebrated his ground-breaking music, gender-bending fashion, and his influence on pop culture.
9. Zendaya Barbie
Inspired by the talented actress and fashion muse Zendaya, the Barbie as Zendaya doll was released in 2019. This doll showcased Zendaya's red carpet style, featuring a glamorous Vivienne Westwood-inspired gown, statement accessories, and her iconic dreadlocks. The Barbie as Zendaya doll celebrated her influence as a fashion trendsetter and a role model for young girls.
10. J.Lo Barbie
In 2020, Mattel honoured the multi-talented performer Jennifer Lopez with the Barbie as J.Lo doll. This doll paid tribute to Lopez's iconic fashion moments, capturing her in a replica of the green Versace gown she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000. The Barbie as J.Lo doll showcased Lopez's impact on the music and fashion industry, representing her as a symbol of confidence and success.