Barbie Through the Ages
Created on October 8, 2023
More creations to inspire you
Through the Ages:
How One Doll Shaped a Generation
Hi Barbie's! I'm also Barbie and today I am going to take you on a journey through the decades to look at some of my most influential looks. I'm not just a doll ya know, I'm a complete cultural phenomenon. Grab your favorite accessory and let’s get started!! Let’s go Barbie!!!
Hi Barbies, so glad you decided to join me! Let’s start from the beginning with my creator Ruth Handler! I can't wait to show you where I come from and how I began! Let’s get started, tap that next button to explore the Ruth Handler Story!!! OMG so EXCITING!!!
The Ruth handler Story
An interactive timeline
Ruth and Elliot Handler, 1938.
Handler family circa 1950.
Mattel Headquarters, 1945.
Ruth Handler circa 1961, in front of various Barbies at Mattel Headquarters.
Ruth Handler with Barbie circa 1992
WOW! How cool was that?! Ruth was definitely a trailblazer!! Let's keep going and take a look at my history throughout the decades!! Tap the next button to continue!
Welcome to the 60's
This Barbie logo was used from 1959-1975.
Wow I've had some impressive looks in the 60's, but did you know I also had some pretty awesome homes too?? Let's take a look!!
Homes for Sale
Barbie Life in the Dream House
Barbies Dream House today, is a little more imaginative than her predecessors featuring a slide and working wheelchair accessible elevator.
Barbies Dream House was introduced in 1962 well before women could open bank accounts inspiring girls to playout whatever fantasy they imagined.
1970's Barbie Dream House featured a pull apart A-frame that was popular for architects during that time.
1980's Barbie Magical Mansion Dream House featured a working doorbell, lights and fireplace.
How amazing were those houses?! Can you believe I owned my own home before most women were able to open their own bank accounts, talk about breaking the plastic ceiling! Let’s see if you’ve been paying attention and test your knowledge! POP QUIZ!
Wow, you guys rocked that quiz!! Isn't learning so much fun?? Let's continue and see what Ruth had in store during the groovy 70's! Hit the next button to continue.
Peace, Love, and Barbie in the 70's
This logo was used from 1975-1991.
Wow, the past 20 years since my inception have really been groundbreaking! Ruth definitely kept all of you in mind when she was creating me, wanting every little girl to be able to imagine any life they dreamed. From my first journey to the moon in 1965, well before NASA went, to my boyfriend Ken always letting me shine, Ruth gave girls everywhere the possibility to dream bigger than themselves. I love that Ruth let my California roots shine as Malibu Barbie, but never let my careers or accolades suffer. From Surgeon Barbie to winning an Olympic gold medal, I definitely had some successful moments during the 70’s and through all my hard work and determination I was able to inspire young girls everywhere that the sky is the limit, well actually the moon is the limit… for now!! Let’s keep going and explore the Rockin’ 80’s!!!
The Rockin' 80's
This logo was used from 1975-1991.
What a time to be alive in the 80’s with all that hair! Speaking of hair, I think it’s time we totally check out the 90’s and see what fun adventures I get up to in the next decade! Hit the next button to continue.
This logo was used from 1991-1999.
Can you believe all the fun and cool things I got to do in the 80’s and 90’s?! I definitely made an impact and continued to prove to young girls everywhere that they could be anything they set their minds to, from a CEO to Airforce pilot. I also got to take part in some amazing animal protection movements like the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, which helps save marine animals from poor living conditions. Let’s test your knowledge with a fun quiz and see how much you remember! Tap the quiz button to get started! Let’s Go!
You guys sure are smart, there’s nothing us Barbie’s can’t do! I can’t wait to show you what we have in store for you in the new millennia, hit the next button to move on to the 21st century!
Logo Evolution 1999-Now
Barbie in Media
Click on the posters in Barbie's room to explore all things Barbie Media
Wow Barbies how awesome was that? It was so fun to get to show you all the amazing things I’ve done in my past! I was a trailblazer when I first debuted in 1959 and I continue that legacy today allowing more children than ever to see themselves represented in a doll. It sure has been such a joy taking you on a tour throughout my life and showing you some of the most impactful dolls of each generation! I hope you continue to shine, and I’ll see you again next time!! Always remember that “you can be anything!”
When I think about Barbie and all the ways one doll could affect a person, I’m left thinking about all the wonderful memories I have with Barbie from a young age. My mother was an avid Barbie collector, and I can’t ever remember a time that didn’t involve Barbie in some fashion or other. I remember the way Barbie allowed me to express myself in ways I didn’t think possible in the real world. When I was playing with Barbie the possibilities were truly endless. I believe this experience is true for most people who played with Barbie when they were young children, because Barbie gave us the ability to believe we could be anything because Barbie could be anything. Throughout the years Barbie has been labeled as anti-feminist, by displaying women in a negative light with unrealistic or obtainable body standards and I do agree that some of that is true. What I find really interesting is the way the Greta Gerwig was able to explore this notion in her adaption of the Barbie Movie. Women are held at such high, impossible standards and criticized mercilessly for their successes by society, so it’s no wonder that a doll that gave young girls the ability to imagine themselves playing a crucial part in a male dominated world would also fall under that same scrutiny. Mattel has established Barbie as a strong, independent woman that can be anything she could possibly dream, whether that be an astronaut, the president, a scientist, a paleontologist, or even just a mother. Barbie continues to give young girls, and now even young boys, the ability to explore their curiosities, emboldening them to believe they too can become anything they want just like Barbie. With the inclusion of even more ethnicities, disabilities, and body types, Mattel and Barbie are creating even more visibility and inclusion for marginalized people, believing that everyone has the right to see themselves represented through Barbie, and that is what makes Barbie so beautiful.
A Note From the Author
Barbie first debuted at the nations Toy Fair in New York City on March 09, 1959. Ruth saw a need for a more adult themed doll after she noticed her daughter and friends playing out adult story lines with paper dolls, which were popular at the time. The inspiration for a fully formed adult doll came after a trip to Europe where Ruth stumbled upon the Lilli doll. The doll was originally intended as a gag gift for adults, Ruth saw the potential for a similar doll marketed towards young children and thus Barbie was born. Ruth utilized her network of factories in Japan, through Mattel, to help formulate the mold for the dolls and modeled the doll after Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. She named Barbie after her own daughter Barbara. Within Barbies first year more than 300,000 dolls were sold. The very first Barbie retailed for only $3.00.
The original 1959 Barbie
The Lilli Doll that inspired Barbie
In 2020 the Barbie Fashionistas line added dolls with vitiligo, alopecia, and a prosthetic limb giving even more children visibility and representation. The Barbie Fashionistas ad also included both boys and girls playing with the dolls. Representation matters and Barbie has established itself well within the toy market for both boys and girls in 2020.
Fashionistas - 2020
In 2020 the Barbie Fashionistas line included dolls with vitiligo, alopecia, and a prosthetic limb.
Red Flare Barbie was introduced in 1962, inspired by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy herself. This was one of the most popular Barbie looks of the decade and was used in various pieces of media, the most popular being the Vinyl Doll case from 1963. This is just the beginning of Barbies long history of taking inspiration from the world around her.
Red Flare Barbie - 1962
During the 1970's working women became increasingly more popular and Barbie already having a long list of impressive careers was ready to add one more to her resume. Surgeon Barbie debuted in 1973 and featured a white doctors coat (not shown) and blue scrubs. Surgeon Barbie was yet another way Barbie empowered young girls to become anything they could imagine.
Surgeon Barbie - 1973
Andy Warhol is most famous for painting influential pop culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. When Andy Warhol painted Barbie in 1986 it solidified her presence as a pop culture Icon. The painting was done at the request of jewelry Designer BillyBoy when he refused a self-portrait, instead suggesting Warhol paint one of the many Barbie Dolls from his collection.
Andy Warhol Paints Barbie - 1986
Andy Warhol with his Barbie painting in 1986.
In 1984 Barbie obtained its first, and definitely not the last, designer collaboration with none other than Oscar de la Renta. Oscar de le Renta designed a line of evening wear for the dolls showcasing his talent for style and grace. This was the beginning of a long history of designer collaborations within the Barbie Brand. Barbie has currently worked with more fashion designers than any other brand in the world.
Oscar de la Renta - 1984
Ruth and Elliot Handler instantly fell in love when they met in 1932 and were married June 26, 1938. Ruth and Elliots first child, a daughter named Barbara Handler, was born on May 21, 1941. Three years later Ruth gave birth to their second and final child, a boy named Kenneth Handler, on March 22, 1944. During their first couple years of marriage, Elliot began working with a new type of plastic called Lucite. Ruth and Elliots first business was formed in 1939, Elliot Handler Plastics, which later led them into business with Howard “Matt” Matson co-founder of Mattel.
Ruth and Elliot Handler photographed with their children Barbara and Kenneth Handler circa 1950's.
In 1968 Mattel showed support for the Civil Rights Movement by debuting Christie. Christie was a friend of Barbies and one of the very first black dolls ever released. Not only was this culturally significant during the time and mainstreamed equal rights, but also set the foundation for Barbie's long history with diversity and inclusion. Barbie has always been a reflection of society, and nothing was more culturally significant in the 60's than the Civil Rights Movement.
Christie, Friend of Barbie - 1968
In 1996 Barbie debuted the first ever paralyzed doll, complete with wheelchair, named Share a Smile Becky. This was a revolutionary time for Mattel and they were praised for bringing visibility, and representation to the wheelchair community. Unfortunately Becky's wheelchair did not fit in the Barbie Dream House and the doll was later scrutinized. This was a step in the right direction for representation for the disabled community that Mattel would revist in 2020 with the reintroduction of a wheelchair Barbie, with the inclusion of a redesigned Dream House that worked with the wheelchair.
Share a Smile Becky - 1996
The Inspiring Women Collection was launched in 2018. Geared towards collectors, this collection showcased three different accomplished women. The dolls included aviator Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. Barbie spent her entire life proving that a woman could do anything, it only seemed fitting to pay tribute to the women who actually did. The collection would later include notable women such as Rosa Parks and Sally Ride. This collection is still in production today with the addition of even more inspiring women.
Inspiring Women Collection - 2018
Pictured left to right: Aviator Amelia Earhart Doll, Artist Frida Kahlo Doll, and NASA Mathemetician Katherine Johnson Doll.
Totally Hair Barbie was released in 1992 and has since been the best-selling Barbie of all time. With her cool 90's fashion and incredibly long hair it was no wonder she was a hit. Totally Hair Barbie featured the longest hair ever on a Barbie doll at that time. Totally hair Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been recreated and redistributed a number of times from Mattel. Carol Spencer designed Barbie's dress to mimic designer Emilio Pucci's bright colorful designs of the time.
Totally Hair Barbie - 1992
Malibu Barbie debuted in 1971 and is one of the most culturally significant Barbie's of all time. Not only was this doll sporting sunkissed skin, but Malibu Barbie also featured a new face sculpt, ditching her sultry sideways glance for eyes facing straight forward. Malibu Barbie was an instant hit and soon Barbies friend Christie and sister, Skipper, joined the Malibu crew. Malibu Barbie opened a whole new set of doors for the way young girls could tell their stories while playing with Barbie.
Malibu Barbie - 1971
Malibu Barbie debuted in 1971 and featured a new face sculpt, the first Barbie with forward facing eyes.
The launch of Malibu Barbie included her friend Christie.
Olympic Gold Medal Barbie debuted in January 1975, before the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Once again Barbie pioneered all that women could do, showcasing a gold medal in three different sports: Skiing, Figure Skating, and Swimming. This was only the beginning of a long running history with Barbie and the Olympics.
Olympic Gold Medal Barbie - 1975
Olympic Barbie debuted in 1975, 1 of 3 in the set, and featured a small Olympic Gold Medal.
Gold Medal Figure Skater Barbie was 1 of 3 in the set and featured a small Olympic Gold Medal
Gold Medal Swim Barbie was 1 of 3 in the set and featured a small Olympic Gold Medal
Barbie first debuted as a presidential candidate in 1992 right before the election. Since, Mattel has released a presidential candidate Barbie every election season. In 2016 the Presidential Candidate Barbie featured a female Vice President as well, inspiring girls everywhere that they too could run for office.
Presidential Candidate Barbie - 1992
In 2004 Mattel's Vice President of Marketing stated that Barbie and Ken were calling it quits. Barbie was on her own for a while, proving that women could be single and have it all. Fortunately for the duo, Ken received a makeover and the two were reunited on Valentines Day in 2014.
Barbie and Ken Split - 2004
Barbie and Ken get back together Valentine's day 2014 when this duo set was released featuring Ken's new makeover.
Mattel has released over 40 CGI films centered around Barbie and her friends. The Barbie film franchise has been very successful since the first CGI film, Barbie and the Nutcracker released in 2001. Mattel continues to make CGI movies of Barbie and her friends, the most recent, Barbie: Skipper and the Big Babysitting Adventure, released March of 2023. Click the link below for a full list of the Barbie movie franchise.
Barbie Film Franchise
Ruth Handler was born on November 4, 1916, in Denver, CO. She was the 10th child of Polish-Jewish immigrants Jacob and Ida Moscowicz. Ruth was raised by her eldest sister Sarah and her husband Louie due to her mother’s crippling health and father’s gambling addiction. Ruth grew up working in her sister and brothers-in-law’s pharmacy where she grew into her entrepreneurial spirit. Ruth met her future husband and business partner, Elliot Handler when she was only 16.
Not many photos exist of Ruth in her early years, here she is photographed with her husband and future co-founder of Mattel, Elliot Handler, in 1938.
Barbie continued to prove that she was a powerhouse throughout her inception and well into the 80's and no other doll within the brand exudes that more than Day to Night barbie in 1985. This doll featured two looks; a high-power CEO look for the day that transforms into a beautiful evening gown for the night. This doll showed young girls that they could be both a CEO and wear beautiful dresses, you are not defined by either and can be both. Margot Robbie was styled as Day to Night Barbie during the 2023 premiere of the Barbie Movie.
Day to Night Barbie - 1985
Day to Night Barbie featured two looks in 1985, a high-power CEO and a beautiful party gown.
Margot Robbie styled as Day to Night Barbie at the premiere of the Barbie Movie in 2023.
In an effort to become even more inclusive after the backlash of Barbie's unrealistic and unobtainable figure, Mattel announced the Fashionista's Barbie line. The original line included 4 body types, 7 skin tones, and over 20 eye and hair colors. The four body types included the original, curvy, tall, and petite body mold all with body positive clothing and accessories that fit all the dolls. The dolls were received positively from the public and are still in production today.
Fashionista's - 2016
The Fashionistas dolls included four body types: Original, Curvy, Tall, and Petite. The Fashionistas line was the start of Barbie's initiative that all children should feel represented by Barbie.
Mattel was founded in 1945 by Ruth Handler, Elliot Handler, and Matt Matson. The name is a combination of both Matt and Elliots names. The company was originally founded to sell picture frames and later included doll house furniture where Elliot utilized the extra scrap wood and his expertise in the new plastic Lucite, to create the pieces. With the success of the sales from the doll house furniture, Mattel began to solely focus on the manufacturing of toys, soon becoming one of the leading and most influential toy companies in the world.
The first site of the Mattel Headquarters in Los Angeles, circa 1945.
The current Mattel Headquarters located in El Segundo, Ca.
At the beginning of the 80's Mattel introduced a new friend to Barbie, Teresa. This was the first Latin doll introduced within the Barbie-verse and was debuted within the California Dream collection. Teresa was another effort to bring more diversity and inclusion into the brand showcasing the luxe Latin history of Barbie's California roots. Teresa would soon replace Christie as Barbies main friend and would become one of the most popular dolls within the brand.
Teresa - 1980
Teresa was first introduced within the California Dream line of dolls in 1980. The California Dream line also featured Barbie, Barbies sister Skipper, Ken, and Barbies friends Christie and Midge.
Four time Emmy nominated and social activist Laverne Cox was honored with her own collectable Barbie in 2022. This was the first Trans Barbie, honoring Laverne Cox for her substantial contributions within the LGBTQI+ communities. Mattel amplified Trans visibility with the release of the Laverne Cox Barbie, still in production today.
Laverne Cox Barbie - 2022
Mattel released a Laverne Cox collectable Barbie in 2022, showcasing Trans visibility.
Barbie got her first theatrical release in 2023 with the Barbie Movie, a Greta Gerwig film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Reynolds. The movie broke box office records making it the highest grossing Warner Bros movie of all time as well as the highest grossing movie directed by a woman. The movie explored the complex roles women play in society and was received with positive reviews.
Barbie Movie - 2023
Superstar Barbie, which debuted in 1977, was a turning point (quite literally) for Barbie which once again featured a redesigned face and new body that twisted at the waist. Barbie sported a new smile and Farah Fawcett inspired hair. This also started a more glamourous era for Barbie with a hot pink dress and matching boa. Superstar barbie perfectly reflects the glitzy style of Hollywood’s hottest stars at the time.
Superstar Barbie - 1977
In 2014 Barbie landed the cover of the 50th anniversary edition of Sports Illustrated, once again proving that Barbie is a Pop Culture Icon. This was pretty controversial since both Sports Illustrated and Barbie have had numerous complaints about body image and self-esteem issues in girls.
Sports Illustrated - 2014
Barbie appears on the 50th anniversary issue of Sports Illustrated wearing an updated version of the classic 1959 swimsuit.
With the new Millenia just around the corner Mattel decided to launch a new collection of dolls within the Barbie line called the Generation Girl Dolls in 1999. These dolls featured a new face sculpt, one that is still in production today, and new friends for Barbie. The doll was reimagined for the modern 21st century girl and included new storylines and a diverse group of friends. The Generation Girl line only stayed in production until 2001 but was an important part of the new conceptualized storytelling and diversity efforts that was to come from Barbie.
Generation Girl Barbie - 1999
Generation Girl also included a website that girls could play games and explore all the modern content associated with Barbie and her new friends.
Astronaut Barbie debuted in 1965 and was the first time Barbie entered a male dominated career. Barbie has had over 250 careers since her debut, the first being a fashion designer and model, but when Ruth decided to debut astronaut Barbie, she was well ahead of her time. Barbie went to the moon 4 years before Neil Armstrong, and 13 years before women were even allowed in NASA's Astronaut Corps in 1978. Barbie's ever-present roster of gender breaking careers have inspired young girls everywhere that anything is possible.
Astronaut Barbie - 1965
In 1991 Barbie once again proved that women could do anything with the release of Air Force Barbie. The doll was marketed as a pilot in the air force. Barbie was proud to serve in the US Air Force and sported a realistic pilot’s outfit. Barbie once again showed that young girls could be anything they dreamed, and Air Force Barbie was no exception.
Air Force Barbie - 1991
Happy Holidays Barbie was released in 1988 and was instantly a best seller. Immediately the doll sold out, making it a covetable collector’s item. Seeing an untapped market for collectibles, Mattel has released a Holiday Barbie every year since making this one of the most culturally significant dolls of the 80's. Today Holiday barbie comes in an array of ethnicities to foster an environment of diversity and inclusion.
Happy Holidays Barbie - 1988
The first Holiday Barbie launched in 1988.
In an effort to captivate an older audience, Mattel released the MyScene Barbie line in 2002. The line followed Barbie as a teenager in NYC before she moved to Malibu. The MyScene brand featured a diverse group of friends, a strong online presence, and several movies including MyScene Goes Hollywood, starring Lindsey Lohan. The line was fairly successful with its conceptualized storytelling, amidst the lawsuits from MGA, which manufactured Bratz, Barbies biggest competitor. The line was discontinued worldwide in 2011
MyScene - 2002
MyScene debuted in 2002 and featured Barbie and a new group of friends in NYC before her move to Malibu.
The MyScene Brand got a full-length feature film in 2005 that starred Lindsey Lohan.
Ruth Handler was the President of Mattel from 1945 – 1975 when she stepped down due to tax complications. In 1970 Ruth was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Ruth decided to make her own breast prosthesis after having difficulty finding any that suited her. Ruth called her new prosthetic “Nearly Me” and First Lady Betty Ford was fitted for one personally by Ruth herself. Ruths legacy at Mattel and with the creation of Barbie have stood well after her passing in 2002.
Ruth with the "Nearly Me" prosthetic.
Ruth and Elliot with Barbie and Ken.
Ruth with actress Kristi Cooke at the 35th anniversary celebration of Barbie at FAO Schwartz in NYC, March 9, 1994.
In 1961 Ken was introduced as Barbie's boyfriend. Barbie originally met Ken on the set of a commercial and the rest is history. Ken has had over 40 careers over the years. Ken has always remained just Barbies boyfriend, taking a back seat to her impressive history, especially in a male driven world, inspiring young girls to see themselves as more than just a bride.
Barbie and Ken - 1961
Mattel rounded out the 70's with the debut of Matching Bathing Suit Barbie and Ken in 1979. Barbie, sporting her new face, body, and Malibu tan, perfectly sums up this era of change for the brand. With Ken at her side the possibilities are endless for this unstoppable woman.
Matching Bathing Suit Barbie and Ken - 1979
Continuing to showcase representation and visibility for all children, Mattel debuted Barbie with Down Syndrome in 2023 as part of the Fashionistas line of dolls. Watch the video below to learn more about Barbies journey of inclusivity.
Down Syndrome Barbie - 2023
Barbie returns to space in 1985 as Astronaut Barbie proving once again that young girls can be anything. One of the best selling dolls of the 80's, we see Barbie with a pink redesigned space suit that showcased the style influence of the 80's.
Astronaut Barbie - 1985
In 2012 Mattel released the Ella Chemotherapy Barbie that was distributed directly to children who had experienced hair loss due to chemo. This doll was a huge success and due to a petition in 2014 from a mother of a child going through chemotherapy, Mattel agreed to make and distribute more Ella Dolls. Click the link below to learn more about Ella's journey.
Ella Chemo Barbie - 2012
Ella's Facebook Page
The Ella Barbie featured no hair and empowered children going through chemo to see themselves as strong and beautiful. Representation matters.
In 2019 the Fashionistas Barbie line introduced a new Wheelchair Barbie into the mix. The doll included 6 body types (including Ken), 9 skin tones, 6 eye colors and over 10 hair colors. Wheelchair Barbie also included a ramp to ensure she was able to go up any stairs. With the introduction of the doll, they also ensured that the current Barbie Dream House included a handicap accessible elevator. Mattel ensured they would correct the mistakes of the past and this representation was only the beginning. Wheelchair Barbie is still in production today.
Barbie Fashionistas Wheelchair Barbie - 2019
The Wheelchair Barbie comes in 6 different body types (Including a Ken), 9 skin tones, 6 eye colors, and over 10 hair colors. Wheelchair ramp included.
Barbies Dream House now includes a wheelchair accessible elevator.
The Original Barbie, named after her own daughter Barbara, debuted on March 09, 1959, at the Nations Toy Fair in NYC. In her first year, more than 300,000 dolls were sold. Modeled after Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, her hair and makeup reflected the Hollywood influence of the time. Barbie made a huge impact in her first year making her pulled back ponytail and bangs a pop culture phenomenon. At the time there was no other toy, that gave girls the opportunity to utilize their imaginations to become whatever they wanted.
Original Barbie - 1959
Ocean Friends Barbie was released in 1996 to coincide with the popularity of the movie Free Willy. The doll featured a baby Orca named Keiko that would shoot out of the water. Proceeds of the purchase of the doll would go towards the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation which was inspired by the real life Orca, Keiko, that the movie Free Willy was based. The foundation helps with rescue of many marine animals living in poor conditions. To learn more about the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, click on the link below.
Ocean Friends Barbie - 1996
Free Willy-Keiko Foundation
Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures was an animated series released in 2018 on Netflix. The series followed Barbie and her sisters, Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea on adventures with Barbies friends Ken and Teresa. The show was well received with young children and showcased Mattel’s art for storytelling.
Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures
In 2021 Barbie honored 6 frontline workers by creating dolls in their likeness. The dolls were distributed only to the heroic women who made a difference within their communities during the Covid-19 Pandemic. To read more about the courageous women who were honored click the link below!
Frontline Workers Barbie - 2021
Mattel Honors 6 Frontline Workers
Mattel honored frontline workers in 2021 with one-of-a-kind replicas of the women who positively impacted their communities during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Barbie had been manufacturing dolls that portrayed different cultures for a while before the debut of The Dolls of the World collection in 1993, but this collection is the most recognizable and still in production today. The Dolls of the World Collection displayed beautifully culturally accurate garments and also detailed the rich histories of these women. Bringing the rich and vibrant histories of women across the world into the homes of many young girls was another example of Mattel’s long standing efforts of diversity and inclusion.
Dolls of the World - 1993
Native American Barbie was one of the first in the dolls of the World Collection, released in 1993.
Princess of the Nile Barbie was introduced in 2001 and features a stunning costume designed to emulate ancient Egyptian royalty.
Kenyan Barbie was introduced to the collection in 1994 and featured a traditional Masai Moran Warrior costume.
In 1967 Barbie debuted the first, and definitely not the last, celebrity doll, the Twiggy Barbie Doll. Twiggy was the most well-known model during the 60's and a pop culture icon in her own right, so it was no surprise when she got her own Barbie doll. Twiggy herself was a feminist, believing that women had endless potential aligning perfectly with Barbie's core values.
Twiggy Barbie - 1967
Nothing was more influential in the 80's than pop-rock music. In 1986 Mattel released the Barbie and the Rockers collection proving once again that Barbies careers were boundless. Barbie and the Rockers were released with 5 dolls including Barbie and new characters, Dee Dee, Dana, Derek, and Diva. Shortly after their launch a short television special was released in 1987 which was later sold on VHS. With the release of the TV special came six more dolls including a Ken doll.
Barbie and the Rockers - 1987
Barbie shown in her Barbie and Rockers outfit released in 1986.