london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition

the design museum in london hosts major barbie exhibition

 

The Design Museum in London unveils a major exhibition celebrating 65 years of Barbie. Held in partnership with Mattel, the vibrant pink showcase features over 180 remarkable dolls, including rare, unique, and innovative examples from the Barbie universe. Visitors will encounter significant dolls, from the first Barbie to ‘move’ to the first Barbie to ‘talk,’ along with many others that have left a mark on culture over the decades. Running until February 2025, the exhibition delves into Barbie’s evolving appearance in response to cultural shifts around diversity and representation. It also provides exclusive, behind-the-scenes insights into Mattel’s design processes and highlights the Barbie doll as a technically and materially innovative creation.

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
all images by Jo Underhill, courtesy of the Design Museum

 

 

Iconic Dolls and Milestones: Highlights from Barbie Exhibition

 

The exhibition at the Design Museum (find more here) showcases over 250 dolls and items from Barbie’s world, displayed together in a colorful landscape designed by Sam Jacob Studio (find more here). The exhibits date from 1959 to the present day, and collectively chart 65 years of design evolution of the world’s most famous doll. Key exhibits include the ‘surfer girl’ Sunset Malibu Barbie from 1971 which was one of the most popular of the decade, and the ground-breaking Day to Night Barbie from 1985 that was designed to reflect the workplace revolution for women in the 1980s, and which saw Barbie’s work-attire pink suit transform into a chic evening gown. On view is also 1992’s Totally Hair Barbie, the best-selling Barbie of all time which has sold over 10 million across the globe. 

 

There are examples of the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls to bear the Barbie name on display, as well as dolls that reflect today’s diverse, multicultural society. These include the first Barbie with Down syndrome, the first to use a wheelchair, and the first to be designed with a ‘curvy’ body shape. Unique pieces include a prototype of the first Talking Barbie from 1968, on loan from Mattel’s archives, showcasing the doll’s voice mechanism. The exhibition also highlights Barbie’s friends like Midge, Christie, and Teresa, her sister Skipper, and a dedicated section for Ken, tracing his evolution since 1961.

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the vibrant pink showcase features over 180 remarkable dolls

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the exhibits are displayed together in a colorful landscape designed by Sam Jacob Studio

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
visitors will encounter significant dolls, from the first Barbie to ‘move’ to the first Barbie to ‘talk’

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the exhibition at the Design Museum showcases over 250 dolls and items from Barbie’s world

design-museums-major-barbie-exhibition-celebrates-65-years-designboom-full-02

Barbie’s furniture and even a unique collaboration between Barbie and Kartell is on view

 

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
there are examples of the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the exhibition also presents a collection of vibrant Barbie houses

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vibrant pink arches and circular display windows complete the exhibition

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
of course, there are also inconic Barbie outfits on view

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the first Barbie from 1959

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
the Totally Hair Barbie from 1992

london's design museum celebrates 65 years of barbie with vibrant pink exhibition
Richard Quinn Fall 2021 Barbie

 

 

project info: 

 

name: Barbie®: The Exhibition
location: The Design Museum, London, UK | @designmuseum
dates: 05 July 2024 – 23 February 2025

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