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Barbie Doll Quiz: Fashion Designers

Updated on September 1, 2017
theclevercat profile image

Did you know Mattel wanted to sell more Barbie clothing than dolls? That's why her proportions were so wild—the clothes make her look human!

Bubble cut Barbie wearing Fancy Free fashion #943, 1964
Bubble cut Barbie wearing Fancy Free fashion #943, 1964 | Source

Barbie Fashion Designers Quiz

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Barbie's Fashion Influences in the 1960s


After Barbie burst onto the toy scene in 1959, her "Fifties" style opened up to accept direction from so many of the newer, more youthful designs of the day. If the high style of the 50's was driven by money and power, the style of the 60's was based on more marginalized people -- think the everyday world of inner cities, instead.

All types of art also helped propel Barbie forward. Kitschy pop art and op art worked right alongside sculptors and photographers who managed to marry all these influences into American advertising. Basically, Barbie fashions were the original memes!

There were plenty of fashion designers and style-makers who influenced Barbie clothing during this decade. Some examples are:

  • Cristóbal Balenciaga's dresses influenced the long pink satin dress fashion Solo in the Spotlight
  • Taste-maker Jacqueline Kennedy's pillbox hat and red swing coat à la Cristóbal Balenciaga made Red Flare a success
  • Christian Dior's New Look was echoed in the Senior Prom and Campus Sweetheart fashions (both full skirted with overlays of two colors of tulle)
  • Coco Chanel influenced the impeccable pink suit of Fashion Luncheon
  • The Lemon Kick fashion channeled Princess Irene Galitzine's palazzo pantsuits
  • Speaking of pantsuits, Emilio Pucci's lace-encrusted formal pantsuit was a clear influence to the Jump into Lace design for Barbie
  • Don't forget about Carnaby Street! Funky patterns and miniskirts by Mary Quant and André Courrèges influenced the fashions of Clear Out (a clear raincoat), Orange Zip (a zippered pleather raincoat), Sunflower (a vividly printed scoop-necked dress) and others

Do you prefer the structured, natural fiber Barbie styles of the early 1960's or the mod, synthetic styles of later in the decade?

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Barbie Fashion Influences in the 1970s

By the time the 70's rolled around, a three-month recession had hit the United States. That recession crippled the economy, striking the fashion sensibilities of the time as well.

Barbie fashions that decade focused more on practicality and work than glamour -- she was a surgeon, and three types of Olympics athletes... downhill skier, figure skater, and gymnast. Even Live Action Barbie came with a microphone!

Barbie Professions

Barbie fashions over the years have also been influenced by her multitude of professions. No matter what her job, she always looks great. Even as a 1960s Registered Nurse she looks mysterious and alluring in her tight-fitting white suit, mules, and navy cape (lined in red silk!) Her Student Teacher outfit of the mid-60s involves a "smart red and white dress" (white lace dickey attached) and bright red shoes. I'm not sure who she would be teaching in this outfit, but I know I would have been looking forward to the next day's fashion if she had been my teacher!

Other exciting "professional" outfits included:

  • Ballerina, 1961-1965, with its black leotard and tights, toe shoes, and a shimmering crystal tutu
  • Barbie for President, 1992, in a red, white, and blue lame ruffled gown (the fashion also included a red velvet suit and electoral badge)
  • Barbie as various actresses. Collector's dolls include Barbie as Marilyn Monroe from The Seven-Year Itch, Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind, even Star Trek characters.

Barbie Fashion Influences in the 1980s and 1990s

In the 80s and 90s, Barbie glamour was back, and with a vengeance. Everything from day wear to suits to gowns were bedecked with glittery, Barbie-esque razzle-dazzle.

Designers included:

  • Bill Blass
  • Billy Boy
  • Bob Mackie
  • Calvin Klein
  • Carol Spencer
  • Christian Dior
  • Donna Karan
  • Escada
  • Nicole Miller
  • Oscar de la Renta

Bob Mackie Barbie design, 1990
Bob Mackie Barbie design, 1990 | Source

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    • profile image

      Judy 

      20 months ago

      Great info on Barbie. What a great history for her. I have Been holding on my late 1960 - 70, maybe some 80's Barbie dolls and dream house that I want to give to a collecter in my area in Southern California. If they will come and get it it's theirs. But only to a good home.

    • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Vega 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi, Yonder Moon! Yes, many of biggest names in fashion were instrumental in keeping Barbie looking good. Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

    • profile image

      Yonder Moon 

      7 years ago

      Interesting! I never really apprecated that barbie fashions so much reflected the context of its ages or that so many renowned designers influenced its outfits!

    • theclevercat profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Vega 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Rebecca! As an avid collector, this is a topic close to my heart. :-)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very cool Hub, clevercat. Vintage Barbie collecting is big business. That Barbie is a fascinating lady!

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