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Saturday, February 14, 2009

NY Fashion Week: Barbie's 50th Anniversary Fashion Show

Pop culture and fashion icon Barbie celebrated her 50th anniversary on Valentine’s Day at Bryant Park. It was a glorious fashion show featuring the works of 52 designers who were inspired by Barbie.

The show’s audience contained the usual fashion editors, industry vets. It was also attended by celebrities like Heidi Klum and Kellie Pickler as well as many young Barbie fans who were incredibly excited to see their heroine. While waiting to enter the tent, I waited next to famed photographer Annie Leibowitz. Only in hindsight, did I think of playing na├»ve and asking her to take a quickie photo of me with my digital camera, (talk about a Facebook pic with serious bragging rights!)

This was probably the most fun and flamboyant show I have seen in ages, (as most apparel companies are no longer spending money on this kind of stuff… sigh). Jaded industry vets were no match for the infectious music, cute factor and drama of the outfits on the runway.

The presentation was divided into three acts, the first showcased retro-inspired outfits from designers like Monique Lhuillier, Michael Kors, and Carmen Marc Valvo. They represented Barbie through the decades with glamorous evening gowns and jeweled accessories. The next act, the “Faux Reality” act represented modern and contemporary Barbie with hipster contributions from the likes of Diane von Furstenburg (above) and Baby Phat (above). The last act was inspired by Barbie of the future, with a lot of metallics and funky clear vinyl from designers like Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson and getting the biggest applause of the day, Bob Mackie (above).

Guests were treated to a great soundtrack of strong women, and tongue-in-cheek selections (”Doll Parts” by Hole opened the show – so wrong and so right). The most entertaining moments was undoubtedly the excitement on little girl’s faces when they saw the pink-ribboned box on their chair. Each seated attendee was gifted with Barbie chocolates by Dylan’s Candy Bar and a limited edition Debut Barbie Fashion Model doll.

Two floor length video screens acted as curtains and projected a sparkling set, the history of Barbie, the multi-ethnic faces of the doll and split apart for the models to make their entrance on the runway.

I am personally ecstatic to finally own my first Barbie doll, (about 25 years after I first asked my parents for one). Why the delay? My parents refused to buy me a doll because they did not want me to grow up with “An unhealthy pre-occupation with frivolous things like fashion”.

Yep, that made me laugh too.
photos by Kris Krug

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