Between juggling her impressive resumé and being a fashion icon for the ages, Barbie’s iconic dream-it-do-it lifestyle was an inspiration for the children who played with her. During the ’80s, Mattel began to collaborate with luxury designers for limited-edition releases of the doll wearing clothes, accessories, and even hair and makeup imagined by the brands. Several designers shrunk down their life-sized garments to fit Barbie. See below some of Barbie’s most memorable designer collaborations.
THIERRY MUGLER 1980S Thierry Mugler’s structural styles were adapted for Barbie’s closet in a few different collaborations between the designer and Mattel. Here, Barbie wears bedazzled trio of black sunglasses, biker shorts, and a jacket.
JOHN PAUL GAULTIER, 1985 A Barbie and Ken doll wear designs by John Paul Gaultier, featuring the iconic cone bra-style popularized by Gaultier in the ’80s.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA, 1985 Oscar de la Renta was one of the first designers to ever collaborate with Barbie during the mid-’80s. Mattel released clothing and accessory packs featuring reproduction of the designer’s latest collections.
BOB MACKIE,1990 Longtime Mattel collaborator Bob Mackie would create several different designs for Barbie’s closet over the course of his career, that is when he wasn’t dressing Cher’s iconic red carpet looks. The first Barbie Mackie ever collaborated on was released in 1990, and was called the Gold Barbie, featuring a gown made of 5,000 hand-sewn golden sequins.
CHRISTIAN DIOR, 1995 In Mattel’s first collaboration with the house of Christian Dior, Barbie was dressed in a fitted brocade gown that was detailed in beads and rhinestones.
RALPH LAUREN, 1996 The all-American designer Ralph Lauren had the chance to dress Barbie in some of his branded classics. A double-breasted wool blazer and camel-colored coat was both an elegant signature and a classic representative of the label.
DONNA KARAN X BLOOMINGDALES, 1995 Donna Karan and Bloomingdales partnered with Barbie to bring fans the New York fashion experience. Complete with a Bloomingdales brown bag, the look of a mock turtleneck and sarong skirt was urban chic to its fullest.
CHRISTIAN DIOR, 1997 In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the house of Dior, Barbie released a reproduction of the iconic Bar suit that summarized the silhouette of Dior’s famous New Look. With a Parisian straw hat, cinched waist, and a garter belt, this Barbie was historically chic.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN 1999 In one of Barbie’s 40th anniversary dolls dressed by various designers, Alexander McQueen chose the anti-Barbie, dressing her in red contact lenses and a matching python bustier in subversive McQueen fashion.
ESCADA, 1999 Honoring Barbie’s 40th anniversary year, several designers were commissioned to design a garment for Barbie to wear. German luxury brand Escada chose a sequin two-piece gown for the doll with a beaded top.
VERA WANG, 1999 Vera Wang’s Salute to Hollywood collection shows Barbie in a red carpet-ready lavender silk gown. Along with a commemorative awards ceremony envelope, Barbie’s evening bag even had a tiny compact mirror in it for all the final touches.
ANNA SUI, 2006 Head-to-toe in Anna Sui, this Barbie represented the wave of bohemian trends that swept through the ’00s. Named the Boho Barbie, Sui dressed Barbie in a look straight out of the ’70s in a Victorian-style cameo choker and floppy sunhat.
CÉLINE 2004 For Barbie’s 45th birthday celebration, Céline dressed the doll following its Fall/Winter 2005 show in a pink tweed jacket lined with fur. The real-size creations were worn by models Pavillon D’Armenonville in Paris.
ELIE SAAB, 2009 Lebanese designer Elie Saab created this gauzy aquamarine gown in 2009 for the Barbie Fashion Show held at the Galeries Lafayette department store in celebration of the doll’s 50th birthday.
GIORGIO ARMANI, 2003 In honor of Giorgio Armani’s eponymous Italian house, Mattel recreated a taupe gown classic of the designer. The beaded tulle finishes of the skirt were met with accessories made from authentic hematite.
GIVENCHY, 2000 In a reproduction of one of Hubert de Givenchy’s 1956 designs, Barbie wore a slim black gown and fur stole with opera-length gloves. The look is evident of some of Givenchy’s early work with actress Audrey Hepburn.
KENZO, 2004 French-Japanese brand Kenzo collaborated with Barbie in an exclusive design for the doll’s birthday celebration. The whimsical jumble of fabrics and traditional Japanese shapes gave Barbie a whole new look.
PACO RABANNE, 2004 Basque-born Paco Rabanne was known for using unconventional materials in his designs, including metal and mirrors. Rabanne’s classic mini dresses were styled on Barbie at the doll’s 45th anniversary show.
ROBERTO CAVALLI, 2003 This special Barbie was created for a fundraising event in Los Angeles. The doll itself was modeled after ’90s era supermodel Cindy Crawford, wearing a gown made from ostrich feathers by Roberto Cavalli.
VALENTINO, 2005 The rarest Life Ball Barbie designed by Valentino was produced at a limited quantity of around 300 dolls. The black-and-white gown was a reproduction of the iconic gown Julia Roberts wore to the 73rd Annual Academy Awards in 2001.
VERSACE, 2004 The renowned feminine allure of Versace was shrunken down for Barbie’s size in this taupe gown with a lace bodice and chiffon ruffles. The doll itself has a striking resemblance to founder Gianni Versace’s sister and muse Donatella.
JUICY COUTURE, 2004 Synonymous with the fads of the aughts, LA-based brand Juicy Couture collaborated with Mattel in 2004. The two dolls that launched were alternatively modeled after the brands’ founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, wearing signature tracksuit pieces and carrying tiny dogs as accessories.
COMME DES GARÇONS, 2009 Rei Kawakubo dressed Barbie in this limited-edition 2009 doll. Kawakubo designed a print called Jingle Flowers used throughout her collections around the holidays that year. The doll was also called Jingle Flowers, wearing a dress with a pixilated floral print.
KARL LAGERFELD, 2014 Eternalizing one of fashion’s greatest legends, Barbie was dressed as Karl Lagerfeld in 2014 in honor of the multifaceted designer. Dressed in fingerless gloves, tuxedo, and sunglasses, the end result was a perfect match to Lagerfeld’s signature look.
ROBERTO SERRAGETTY IMAGES MOSCHINO, 2015 “Like every girl and gay boy, I loved Barbie,” Creative Director of Moschino Jeremy Scott once said. The playful character of the brand came through in their Spring/Summer 2015 collection inspired by the iconic toy herself. Following the release of the collection, a Barbie was released dressed in a fishnet leather look by the brand.
YVES SAINT LAURENT, 2018 Though there have been previous dolls released wearing Yves Saint Laurent, Mattel collaborated with the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in 2018 Paris to develop three dolls sporting some of Saint Laurent’s most iconic designs, including the Paris evening gown from 1983, the 1965 Safari jacket, and the Mondrian dress from 1965.