Barbie's Fashion Evolution: 1959—Today
Since making her debut in 1959, Barbie has fearlessly embraced the fashions of the day, becoming a style chameleon on par with Madonna in the process. So join us as we revisit Barbie’s most iconic looks, from the Lucille Ball-inspired glamour of the ‘50s to the casual chic of today.
This is Barbie’s style evolution.
1959: Barbie makes her debut channeling both the girl-next-door appeal of Tammy star Debbie Reynolds (left) and the accessible glamour of TV powerhouse Lucille Ball (right). The look of the day is all about dramatically arched eyebrows softened by short, poofy bangs.
1962: The ‘60s kick off with a bang: Pop Artists like Andy Warhol change the visual landscape, the White House gets a glamorous First Lady (left), and Elizabeth Taylor (right) becomes the most famous woman (and highest paid movie star) on the planet. Barbie rides the changing tide, wearing brighter colors, bigger hair and Cleopatra-inspired liner.
1967: The baby boomers create a cultural youthquake. England swings with Sgt. Pepper, Vidal Sasson haircuts and the world’s first supermodel, Jean Shrimpton (right). Back in the states, sex kitten Ann-Margaret (left) takes the crown as the nation’s favorite redhead. For the Summer of Love, Barbie lets her tresses grow long, but keeps the essential ‘60s fringe, which covers most of her eyebrows but falls just above doe-eyed makeup.
1971: Bangs and heavy makeup are so last decade. Long, straight hair is all the rage, as is the “healthy glow” that comes from hours of sunbathing. Barbie moves to Malibu for some California dreaming. And like many of her peers, looks up to Marcia Brady (right) as a role model.
1977: The disco era ushered in jet-set glamour epitomized by Studio 54 patrons and French superstar Catherine Deneuve in Chanel No. 5 adverts (right). Barbie embraced the decade’s nostalgia for retro fashions, sporting a long satin gown and feather boa similar to the ensemble worn on The Sonny and Cher Show by Farrah Fawcett (left)—the most iconic woman of the ‘70s.
1986: The MTV generation is born as video kills the radio star with the biggest hair since the 1960s. Young girls (and gay boys) live out their pop star fantasies through girl group Jem and the Holograms on the animated series Jem (left). Barbie moves to center stage by taking fashion cues from Madonna (right) and her "Virgin Tour." Short skirts, leggings and oversize jackets become the uniform of choice.
1996: The eclectic ‘90s had an “anything goes” attitude regarding style. But after grunge came and went, mid-decade fashion pulled liberally from the '60s—as evidenced by Barbie’s Pucci-inspired dress and the waifish beauty of supermodel Kate Moss (left). The colorful surrealism of the decade’s most influential photographer, David LaChapelle, was definitively employed in the wardrobe worn by the female leads of the movie Clueless, who LaChapelle also photographed (right).
2000: With the arrival of a new century, fashion began an evolution towards the sleek, monochromatic style that would come to define the decade. Despite the ‘90s hangover print pants worn at the beginning of the decade by Barbie and pop princess Britney Spears (right), both ladies kept their tresses simple with honey-colored locks inspired by everybody’s best friend, Jennifer Aniston (left).
2011: The modern woman is busy, busy, busy! And like mom/movie star Halle Berry (right), Barbie favors the no fuss, no muss combination of denim and heels for casual chic on the go. But Barbie's still a glamour girl who likes to stand out in a crowd, so she looks to music divas like Rihanna (left) for eye-catching hairstyles.