wanna dress like a barbie?
barbie clothes, accessories, and perfume for real people are on their way
by lucy lediaev
Yes, this oxymoronic headline is from CNN online. Because this “news” story was so unbelievable, I verified it on the Mattel website. Here’s an excerpt from the relevant press release on their site.
The Barbie® brand has firmly established itself as a fashion brand and continues to make forays into the exclusive world of fashion and beauty with key partnerships. With Love, Barbie® clothing will be available this fall exclusively at Federated Stores, such as Macy's, offering girls cool and trendy apparel. For adults, Nordstrom's across the nation currently features vintage T-shirts inspired by the 1959 Barbie® ranging from $40.00 - $60.00. These items are in addition to a hugely successful Barbie® couture adult fashion line available in Japan. Mattel has 16 stand-alone stores and is aiming to reach 20 by the end of 2004.
I just can’t imagine that anyone over the age of six would want to dress like Barbie. Nonetheless, the brilliant minds that created Barbie, Little People, Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, and View Master seem to think they can make the concept successful.
Where will these Barbie fashion retailers find women shaped like Barbie? Barbie’s body shape has to be the result of a tightly laced corset, circa 1890. Modern women have bosoms, but they don’t have wasp waists. And, who is going to be comfortable wearing a satin frock trimmed with beads and sequins to the office? Will prospective buyers of Barbie’s fashions be willing to wear gold lamé jeans to the supermarket? Even Barbie’s business suits are trimmed with faux fur and other formal accoutrements.
Of course, the clothes should be easy on and easy off if they feature the single snap or tiny spot of Velcro that have traditionally been the fasteners on tiny Barbie clothes, And, if you buy Barbie shoes, will they fall off with every step? Will the handbags be made of solid plastic so that they look great, but don’t hold anything?
Is a fashion line for Ken next on Mattel’s agenda? Should we expect that Ken’s dress shirts will lack collars and cuffs as they do for Ken? And, will the trousers lack a fly? Of course, Ken lacks the necessary equipment to require a fly.
There are lots of other joint marketing programs Mattel should consider. Are they in talks with Chevy to make a pink Barbie Corvette for “grown-ups?” Will soccer Moms be able to transport the next Barbie generation from dance class to gymnastics in a hot pink SUV, with purple pin-striping? Will Winnebago provide a motor home done in lavender, mauve and petal pink?
As a mother, aunt, and grandmother of two generations of little girls, I’ve purchased my fair share of Barbie clothes, complaining as I did of the shiny, cheesy fabrics and overtly provocative designs. And now I can purchase the same for my grown daughter and for my very young granddaughter. What a treat! What an opportunity to enrich their lives.
I truly can’t believe that the reasonably sophisticated buyers at Nordstrom's have bought into this bizarre marketing idea. They must have thought, “Let’s market poor quality, over-priced clothing to our clientele; it will enhance our reputation as a trendy fashion outlet!”
A freelance writer and full-time grandma, Lucy Lediaev retired recently from a position as web master, tech writer, and copy writer in a biotech firm. She is enjoying retirment more than she ever dreamed and is now writing about topics that are, for the most part, interesting and fun. She also has time to pursue some of her long-time interests, such as crafts, reading, sewing, baking, cooking, and the like.
ABOUT LUCY LEDIAEV
more about lucy lediaev
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
7.9.04 @ 12:48a
I know a few guys who would like to dress like Barbie, but I still take the same opinion you do. I have never in my entire life seen a person, male or female, with the physical shape of a Barbie doll. Right now it's only a trendy idea, but should it become a real fashion statement, there will be a Barbie Diet to follow.
7.9.04 @ 1:02a
I know a few guys who DO dress like Barbie.
7.9.04 @ 1:30a
I don't want to be Barbie - I want to be Skipper.
See, the problem is that the people buying these clothes won't be wearing them to the office. There are legions of women, I'm told, who do nothing but paint everything pink and wear Barbie clothes around the house, and for shopping at, say, Nordstrom's. It's fitfully frightening.
7.9.04 @ 1:45a
Blech! Fine journalism at its best. *rolls eyes*
Then again, what do I expect? This is CNN we're talking about after all.
7.9.04 @ 2:07a
Barbie fashions, eh? According to this article, her life-size dimensions would be 36-18-33. Now, if you know anyone, male or female, who is built like that, I'm sure they'll look stunning in Barbie wear.
7.9.04 @ 8:52a
I just want the Barbie drug.
7.9.04 @ 10:22a
Well I'm looking forward to it. I've always wanted to be a flight attendant, teacher, astronaut and a mermaid, and now it's finally going to be possible! Thank you Barbie, thank you.
7.9.04 @ 11:03a
The clothing line will only be authentic if it can also remove all hints of a nipple.
7.9.04 @ 11:47a
Anybody remember a long-ago Saturday Night Live episode where Eddie Murphy did a bit on Weekend Update with a Barbie doll? He also had a Michael Jackson doll (“Anatomically correct!”), a Mr. T action figure and a Brooke Shields doll. Murphy had Mr. T attacking Brooke, saying “Come ‘ere, woman. Lemme’ stick my tongue down your throat.” Unfortunately for my wife, that became a favorite phrase of mine. Not that I actually DO it. Ick!
7.9.04 @ 1:10p
I've always wanted to be a flight attendant, teacher, astronaut and a mermaid...
Y'ever notice that Barbie can never hold down a job? What's she hiding? What are her inner insecurities that make her inherently unemployable?
7.9.04 @ 1:24p
Come ‘ere, woman. Lemme’ stick my tongue down your throat.” Unfortunately for my wife, that became a favorite phrase of mine.
Uhhh, nice visual. Thanks, Matt.
7.9.04 @ 2:46p
Y'ever notice that Barbie can never hold down a job?
At least she could get jobs. Ken never did anything, just hung around her pool all day. She had to support the dead-beat. Give a girl a break, man!
7.10.04 @ 7:47a
You don't watch enough Jerry Springer.
And then there is always the Barbi Twins. They made a career of trying to be the doll. link
7.10.04 @ 9:26a
Ah, I see Stacy's joined our ranks...welcome, friend!
I have no desire to dress like Barbie, nor own any of her "toys"--the Corvette, the motor home, the townhouse, the fold-up airplane. I've already had them when I was a child. Maybe Mattel is simply catering to women who just can't seem to grow up and like living in fantasy land.
You realize what's next--Barbie cosmetics and haircare for the adult set. Blech!
7.10.04 @ 11:49a
It's Dan's fault. He unknowningly dragged me in with his Rage Against the Machine post. ;)
Thanks for the welcome. =)
7.10.04 @ 7:47p
"the fold-up airplane. I've already had them when I was a child. Maybe Mattel is simply catering to women who just can't seem to grow up and like living in fantasy land."
I don't know, I still say a fold-up airplane would be awesome. If they sold those at the mall...