700 of the most fashionable Barbie dolls are now on display in Paris

Barbie businesswoman (1963); Barbie Air Stewardess (1961); and Barbie Diane von Furstenberg (2006). (credit: Musée des Art Décoratifs)

Be a doll and get in touch with your inner prepubescent girl by taking a gander at “Barbie: Life of an Icon,” an exhibit currently on view at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The show which runs until September 18th features 700 of the most glamorously fashionable dolls Mattel had created over the last 57 years.

The tribute highlights Barbie’s evolution from her birth in 1959 to the present. Originally created by American inventor Ruth Handler, Barbie quickly became Mattel’s bestselling product of all time. The doll “originally embodied the ‘American way of life,” and has since adapted to social, political and cultural changes. Its elongated feminine figure, for instance, marked a revolutionary departure from traditional dolls.

Barbie Lagerfeld; Barbie Mad Men (2010); Barbie Oscar de la Renta (1985)


Originally, as Anne Monier, the exhibit’s curator told Forbes, “the doll was conceived as a fashion toy not to play mother or cuddle with, but to be dressed and undressed.” Since then, her wardrobe has grown to thousands of outfits, many of which are included in the exhibit.

Because of her fashion icon status, Barbie has inspired top designers such as Chanel, Dior, Maison Margiela, and Christian Louboutin to create elaborate outfits for her. Designs by Paco Rabanne, Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent will all be featured at the exhibit. According to Forbes, there are also scale models, videos, art pieces and fashion treasures (and of course, Barbie’s boytoy, Ken).

While the dolls on display are sure to please old and young alike, the only drawback is not being able to play with them.