Barbie Like You’ve Never Seen Her Before: A Gallery of Dolls Through the Years
In 1945, Ruth Handler and her husband, Elliot, founded Mattel, Inc., the toy company that we all grew to love and cherish throughout our childhoods. To us, Mattel wasn’t just a high-brow toy corporation; it was a dreamland where anything was possible.
And we all knew that dreamland had one very special “lady” who was just waiting to be our friend. She was first introduced to the world as “Barbie Millicent Roberts,” but we knew her as Barbie — and she was an astronaut, a race-car driver, a chef, a librarian, a teacher, a coach, a soccer player; the list could go on forever. Her most important job, however, was being a role model to young girls everywhere — and 59 years later, she’s still making a big impact on young people today.
Since the original Barbie was released on March 9, 1959, she’s also been re-introduced as famous stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Donna Karan, and Marilyn Monroe among many others. In celebration of Barbie’s recent birthday, here are some of the most stylish Barbie dolls we’ve ever seen.
1995 Donna Karan
Donna Karan Barbie (1995)
In 1995, Mattel released a limited-edition Donna Karan Barbie doll (inspired by the American fashion designer herself, Donna Karan), complete with her very own Donna Karan-designed ensemble. Created as a part of the DKNY series, this Barbie doll comes with all the accessories a designer-on-the-go should have, including black sunglasses, a red fringed shawl, and a Bloomingdale's shopping bag.
Where to buy it: $40, Amazon.
Escada Barbie (1996)
This 1996 Escada Barbie doll (inspired by the German luxury women's clothing company) is definitely ready for a night out on the town! Wearing a black velvet bodice and layers upon layers of pink silk, this limited-edition doll is a show-stopper — and an excellent example of '90s haute couture.
Where to buy it: $188, Amazon.
1996 Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein Barbie (1996)
In 1997, Mattel released a Calvin Klein Barbie doll that was dressed head-to-toe in (yep, you guessed it) Calvin Klein. Decked out in a real denim skirt with an authentic CK label and a grey crop top, this limited-edition CK Barbie is ready to wander the city streets. She even has her very own Calvin Klein windbreaker, just in case it gets cold out.
Where to buy it: $25, Amazon.
1998 Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta Barbie (1998)
Is there anything more regal than an Oscar de la Renta gown? This stunning 1998 collector's item features a bodice overlaid with chocolate-colored lace that's bedazzled with beads and sequins, and an opulent full skirt — designed by the late Oscar de la Renta himself — that reveals just the right about of gold-edged tulle.
Where to buy it: $78, Amazon.
1997 Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren Barbie (1997)
Much like the Calvin Klein Barbie, the Ralph Lauren Barbie also comes with special accessories tailored just for her, including a lined camel hair overcoat, double-breasted navy blazer with embellished with the Ralph Lauren crest, and a blackwatch plaid handbag. This Barbie doll is so stylish, Bloomingdale's labeled her as the "most sophisticated Barbie ever."
Where to buy it: $85, Amazon.
1997 Bill Blass
Bill Blass Barbie (1997)
American fashion designer Bill Blass created a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in 1997. This Barbie flaunts Blass' signature flamboyant flair and style, donning a vibrant yellow gown and bright fuchsia underskirt with an overly-dramatic train. From her unique hairstyle to the bold print bow, this Barbie is definitely something special.
Where to buy it: $54, Amazon.