A few weeks ago I received a bright pink invitation complete with pink stick-on rhinestones inviting me to come to the "Barbie Dream Closet" at Lincoln Center. Obviously I hightailed it over there on opening night to check it out.
Barbie moved some of her not inconsiderable wardrobe--and 360 pairs of identical pink pumps--over to Lincoln Center to hang out with the designers and fashion crowd. Why? Well, like a lot of other celebs and it-girls, Barbie is a fashion designer now.
Every year Barbie gets a new career (or 2 or 3) and this is her first of 2012. So obvi she needs to be where the action is. To celebrate, she set up shop near the tents, offering people a glimpse into her lit-with-very-flattering-pink-light world. Upon walking in to a huge life size Barbie dream house, I was greeted by the girliest music ever (think Katy Perry and old-school Madonna) and six life size Barbies, from all different eras. As if that wasn't awesome enough, they were dressed in vintage fashion from the Albright Library's archives.
Black Barbie Doll (ca.1980) had on Alexander McQueen and CEO Barbie (ca. 1985) was wearing huge-shouldered Dolce & Gabbana amazingness. Moschino, Burberry, Chloe, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs adorned the various Barbies, too. Accessories were provided by Alexis Bittar, Kate Spade, Janis Savitt, and others. I couldn't take my eyes off Original Teenage Fashion Model Barbie (ca. 1959), though, because this girl actually had Barbie proportions (she was pretty popular with party-goers, being the only one in a swimsuit to boot.) Anyway.
I spoke to Stephanie Cota, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Barbie. After she explained the exhibit, I had to ask her how Mattel deals with Barbie detractors. "You have to remember that for a little girl, Barbie is a doll," she said. "Barbie represents fashion and aspiration and opportunity and we try to remember everyday to look through that little-girl lens. It's an amazing responsibility."
After learning that Mattel had talked to a lot of designers, many of whom had "Barbie moments" growing up, I conveniently ran into Chris Benz, who was taking a break from a marathon day of fittings. While he didn't specifically have a Barbie moment, he did have a moment. "I begged my mom for a Malibu Ken when I was in third grade, which I got," he told me. "Then I was disappointed because it only came with board shorts, so there was no clothes to play with. I just took off the board shorts."
If you're near Lincoln Center, the Barbie Dream Closet will be open to the public (complete with DJ) all day Sunday February 12 and Monday February 13. Click through to see some of the celebs that popped by.