Fantastic Plastic: Barbie Turns 50

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This year, one of the world’s most iconic toys is turning 50th. Barbara Millicent Roberts, also known as Barbie, is celebrating her golden birthday with a number of glourious pink parties. Her official birthday is March 9, 1959 for you trivia buffs.

When I heard the planning that was going in to Barbie’s 50th birthday, I was immediately hooked. Yesterday, I spent time between V-day celebration of champagne & bowling to scour the Internet for pictures of the Barbie-poloza kick off at Fashion Week. Let’s say this show did not disappoint.

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, commissioned 50 designers to create pas, present and future looks for the lady of honor. A-list names like Nicole Miller, Juicy Couture, Nanette Lepore, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Dian von Furstenberg, Marchesa, Bob Mackie, Catherine Malandrino and Vera Wang proved they were ready to play – sending models down the runway with bright pink, 4-inch Christian Louboutin heels.

I would take a guess that at least 60 percent of my readers have owned at least one Barbie. Here are some facts from Mattel:

* 90 percent of girls between 3-10 own at least one Barbie doll.
* Three Barbies are sold every second

* The original Barbie, created by Ruth Handler (the wife of Mattel creator) made is debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. The first doll wore a black and white zebra swim suit.

* A series of books about Barbie were published by Random House in the ‘60’s. Barbie’s parents were George and Margaret and the family lived in Willows, Wisconsin. Barbie is one of six children. Her siblings include Skipper, Tutti & Todd (twins), Stacie, Kelly and Krissy.

* Since 1961, Barbie has had an on/off relationship with Ken Carson. After 43 years together, the couple made headlines when they split in 1961 on Valentine’s Day (obv. Some big PR stunt created by an agency, ah hem). The couple appear to be going strong again.

* An animal lover, Barbie has had over 40 pets including cats, dogs, a panda, lion and zebra. Her first pet was a horse named Dancer.

Look out for a blow out bash at B’s Malibu Dream House ; )

(Sources:, Wikipedia, Photos:, AP-Diana Bondareff)