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Miuccia, McQueen, And More Dress Barbie For 50th

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I once saw a bumper sticker that rang so true it almost made me slam on the brakes. It read, “I want to be Barbie, the bitch has everything.” She’s got a handsome suitor, a flock of gorgeous friends, a pink Corvette, an endless designer wardrobe. Most admirably, she’s mastered a slew of careers from ballerina to astronaut, but perhaps Barbie’s most notable role has been miniature muse and mannequin. Her calling as a fashion plate is now beautifully illustrated in a new oversize, limited-edition (read: somewhat more expensive than a dream car) tome from Assouline, simply entitled Barbie. The book is filled with luscious images of the 11.5-inch phenomenon dressed by everyone from Marvel Comics to MAC Cosmetics, Miuccia to McQueen, and Coco to Karl, all of which make a girl of any age drool, along with insightful text by Yona McDonough and quotes from various fashion luminaries. But what I find most interesting about Barbie is the legions of amateur designers she inspires. Something about the curvy toy lights a creative fire in girls of all ages. I first learned to thread a needle in order to sew a nifty little sheath dress for my own tiny blonde BFF. My own sewing skills never really advanced beyond that single awkward stitch, but other young ladies took their inspiration a bit further. “As soon as I started sewing, I was doing fittings on my Barbie,” says Cynthia Rowley, who has, of course, expanded beyond the realm of doll-size duds. “I learned garment construction from her.” Fellow NYC fashion maven Anna Sui, who also grew up wardrobing Miss B., describes creating an Anna Sui Barbie as “the ultimate little girl’s fantasy.” The ever-stylish little lady is celebrating her 50th year in 2009, and I gladly raise my sewing needle to the next half-century of inspired girls.



Barbie, $500, available at www.assouline.com.

Photo: Nicola Kast

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Dept. of Culture