Last Saturday at the tents in Bryant Park designers and celebrities gathered together with budding fashionistas of a much more tender age to fete the 50th birthday of that style icon better known as Barbie. While sadly not every young fan made it past the velvet ropes to join a listers like Heidi Klum and Diane Von Fustenburg inside, Barbie creator Mattel certainly threw a sugary sweet bash for those in attendance. Not only did the birthday girl look remarkably well preserved, she also had 50 designers create looks for her special day, proving in play land a girl’s dreams can always come true.
The show exhibited three versions of Barbie: classic, modern and future. Her looks ranged from retro glamour and grace, to modern elegance and beauty, to rock’ n’rolla funk and fun. And, of course, there was plenty of pink befitting the plastic blonde bombshell! Longtime Barbie designer Bob Mackie’s golden goddess costume was a smash with the crowd and had special sentimental value for the occasion. Our favorites included a whimsical pink butterfly creation from Koi Suwannagate, two delicate and lovely pale pink gowns from Marchesa and Monique Lhuillier, and a sexy black and white sequined bathing suit covered artfully by an edgy version of the classic trench, created by Rachel Roy. The designers all agreed that Barbie was an inspiration for American women throughout the generations and dressing her was a childhood fantasy realized on the runway.
And while Barbie may still have her share of critics, who lament her unrealistic frame and materialistic tendencies, the imagination and playfulness of the show certainly provided a breath of fresh air and fun. The designers presented Barbie as a girl who has the confidence to celebrate her femininity and enjoy a bit of glamour while pursuing any dream her heart desires. We can all appreciate that message of independence and optimism in these uncertain times. After all, Ken’s still looking sharp after all these years, but Barbie hardly needs any arm candy.
By Perrine Meistrell
Photos by: Victoria Will