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    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Barbie : Fabulous at 50

    The world's favourite doll celebrates her 50th birthday on Monday. In honour of Barbie we take a closer look at the extraordinary life of the iconic doll. For example, did you know that on average a staggering three Barbies are sold every second across the globe?

    The first ever Barbie was launched on March 9, 1959, and wore a zebra print swimsuit and sunglasses. She was developed by American businesswoman Ruth Handler, who used a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.

    Barbie's full name in Barbie Millicent Roberts. She was named after Handler's daughter Barbara, for whom she created the doll after watching her play with paper dolls. Here she is driving one of her many motors, most of which are, of course, pink.

    The doll is made by Mattel, Inc, but initially the company's executives, including Handler's husband Elliot who was a co-founder of the toy company, were unimpressed by the idea. These days, Barbie is big business for Mattel, and it is estimated that over a billion dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries.

    To honour the five decade mark of the doll, Mattel are planning a year-long list of events to celebrate her life, including a Barbie runway show in New York, a celeb-filled party at a real life Barbie Mansion, and special edition birthday dolls.

    A career woman, Barbie has had 110 jobs, and even holds a pilot's licence. Among the careers she has had in her fifty years are astronaut, nurse, dentist, footballer, ballerina and chef. Although it's not exactly a career move, princess Barbies are among the most popular in the shops.

    Barbie is a popular girl and has an array of friends and relatives, including Midge, Christie and Teresa. She has a younger sister called Skipper and various other cousins. She has never had any children, presumably because of all those jobs, but does act as a babysitter for some of her younger relatives. Despite her busy life, Barbie still finds time for a little romance, and in 1961 a boyfriend was made for her. Although they make a pretty couple, life hasn't always been rosy for Barbie and Ken, and in February 2004 Mattel announced that Barbie and Ken had split up. However, they reconciled their differences and two years later they were back together again.

    The Barbie brand is not just limited to dolls. As well as these laptops in her signature pink, the Barbie range also extends to mobile phones, jewellery, stationery, confectionary, clothing and more. In 2007, cosmetics company MAC even brought out a range called Barbie Loves MAC.
    As well as an array of pets, homes and cars, Barbie also boasts a designer wardrobe, with outfits by Dior, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Versace and many others. Here she is modelling a fetching outfit by fashion house Burberry.

    It is estimated that there are around 100,000 Barbie collectors in the world, and this year's National Barbie Doll Collector's Convention in Washington is set to be a sell out. Auctions of the doll are also popular, like this one at Christie's in London, with 1965's Barbie in Midnight Red breaking records when it sold for 9,000 pounds in 2006.

    Barbie is not to everyone's taste, and in 2003 she was outlawed in Saudi Arabia on the grounds that she did not conform to the ideals of Islam. Step forward Fulla. This Muslim-style doll made her debut in Egypt in 2004, and is hugely popular in the Middle East. Wearing an array of abayas and hijabs, she also appears as a teacher and a doctor.

    So there we have it: 50 years, over a hundred jobs, splits with her boyfriend, yet Barbie is looking pretty good. Happy Birthday!


    FuN and MakeUp said...

    how interesting and cute is that... i use to like barbies.. well not really but just collectin it.. cuz u know that shit is old skoo.. but yea now i see barbies r soo ugly lookin n upgraded! i dont see those original barbies anymore....

    miemiemie said...

    i had barbies back then and i recall taking all of their clothes off plus cutting their heads off -_- hmmm hahaha

    From Beauty and Care Island said...

    very cute! I remember when I had my first Barbie , she was really ugly then Barbie now :)

    ♥Leigh♥ said...

    I had 20+ Barbie's way back then. Uh huh! And I remember cutting their hair's and thinking maybe one day it'll grow back.It didn't.And I left them all ugly..hahaha

    Anonymous said...

    oh i miss being a lil girl!! i was a huge fan!! when i got into HS, my mom and i started to collect them!!