Barbie fashion
"Barbie" is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc.; "Fashion Royalty" and "Candi" are registered trademarks of Integrity Toys, Inc.
Marcdolls are not affiliated in any way with the manufacturers of these dolls, or any other doll manufacturer.

The photos and text of the entire contents of this web site are copyright of Marcdolls, 2000-2018, in Watt / Switzerland, and may not be used without special written permission.


Bild-Lilli, Barbie's predecessor

Barbie's Introduction

Barbie's early history

Barbie's biography

Barbie the doll

Barbie's Manufacturers Markings

Barbie's controversies

Barbie's friends and relatives

Ethnic Barbie's

Barbie through the ages, 1959 - 2009

Barbie luxury doll to massproduction

Barbie as collectors object

Silkstone Barbie doll

How to care Barbie's head?

How to care Barbie's body?

How to care Barbie's clothes?

Barbie versus Bratz

Dolls of the My Scene-line

The five different collector types

Glossary of Abbreviations


  The commercial success of Barbie is mainly based to the fact that she had been
equipped with a variety of wardrobes for every occasion, right from the start.
Her inventor: Ruth Handler is reported to have said:

“The doll sells the fashion and the fashion sells the doll.”


Barbie originally sold with swimsuit and therefore urgently needed something else to
wear! The first clothes were influenced by Haute Couture fashions and were also
named after these. Jacqueline Kennedy had been a stylish example in the early sixties,
and this influence was noticeable in Barbies fashion.

Like her shining examples, the haute couture models of famous designers, many of
Barbie’s  dresses are equipped with a label. For combined ensembles only one piece
of clothing has a label in it, these can be found inside the collar or at the helmline.

From 1967 Barbie has worn fashions that were oriented closely to the mod-fashions
by Carnaby-Street. Also later fashion trends such as those from the TV series
"Dynasty" influenced the fashions of the eighties, Disco-fashions as well as most
designer jeans made an impact on Barbies wardrobe.


When talking about "Barbie fashion", most people think about he "Pink" - color which actually had not been the case during the first Years. Barbie always was up to the latest fashions and wore always the actual colors according to the specific season. In the 1950es and the early1960es the colors were much more soft pastel and only in the late 1960es more brilliant and gleaming colors became fashionable. During these Years Mattel began to pack their dolls into pink colored boxes. Eversince this date this dark gleaming rose color is protected under the trade mark: "Barbie-Pink".


Until 1972 the labels with the doll’s names were woven in handwriting. Whereas between 1973 to 1978 no markings or labels can be found. Although the dresses can be identified according to their manufacturing specifications (at the time the buttons that were used consisted of square metal plates stitched to the fabric). From 1979 the woven labels reappeared, and this time the doll’s names were in print.

From the 1990es not only fashions and /or casual clothes were offered, but also fantasy outfits to disguise Barbie into mermaids, elves or saga princesses.

For the Jubilee Year 2009 some fashion designers like: Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Fuerstenberg are said to create special fashions again for Barbie.

Already back in the 1960es, Mattel offered clothing and fabric accessories that enabled the children to apply the colors themselves by using the enclosed fabric also create their own sequin decorating. Such accessories are manufactured up to today and they add a great deal to the fun and the playing possibilities.

The following designers, created fashions for Barbie.

John Bates

John Bates designed those fabulous catsuits and Mod ensembles for Diana Rigg on her hit television series "The Avengers." Perhaps his most famous design is an A-line dress with the midriff cut out and replaced by sheer netting. Voted 1965's Dress of the Year, it can be seen at the Museum of Costume in Bath, England.

Biba (Barbara Hulanicki)

Barbara Hulanicki opened the legendary Biba boutique in London in 1964. Biba stocked the "total look" in which shoes, tights, and other accessories coordinated with the clothes. Biba clothing was extremely inexpensive, which fit perfectly the budgets of many young women.
Her earlier designs reflected the youthful styles of the Mod movement, but by the late Sixties, her designs changed to the nostalgic 1930s look, with longer hemlines.

Marc Bohan

Marc Bohan succeeded Yves Saint Laurent as head of the House of Dior. Bohan brought the House of Dior into the Sixties during the early years of the Mod movement. Under his leadership the House of Dior created youthful lines of clothing such as Dior Sport, as well as bringing simpler construction to the regular line of Dior fashions. In the late Sixties he explored the ethnic styles of fashions that were becoming increasingly popular, with exotic prints and more fluid shapes. He continued to head the House of Dior until the Eighties.

Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin was a French couturier who adopted Mod styles of clothing in the Mid Sixties. As early as 1964 his designs became more relaxed, and began to resemble the youthful styles of Quant and other young British designers. But after Courrèges made Mod fashionable among the couture set, Cardin's designs also became "out there." He, with Courrèges, was responsible for what became known as the "Space-Age Look", with futuristic designs and helmet-like hats.

Ossie Clark

Clark started designing clothing for Quorum, a popular London boutique in the early Sixties, joining the company full-time in 1966. He designed way-out clothing such as hot pants, gypsy dresses and maxi coats. Many of the fabrics he used were designed by his wife Celia Birtwell.

Andre Courrèges

Courrèges was the designer responsible for bringing the Mod Look to high fashion. Originally a designer for the master of haute couture Balenciaga, he opened his own house in 1961. His early designs were very much like other couturiers, with well-tailored, mature and conservative styles. However, in the fall of 1964 when he introduced his spring '65 line, his models walked onto the runway in white, geometrical dresses with hemlines above the knees. Go-go boots and helmet-like hats accompanied them. He is credited with inventing the miniskirt, but in reality he just brought it to couture fashion, thus helping to make the mini universal.

Rudi Gernreich

Gernreich, like Mary Quant, was a free spirit in the fashion world. Although he was more of a high-end designer than the youthful Mod designers, he was not stuffy like the French and Italian couture designers of the Sixties. Gernreich embraced simple lines and youthful styles, and designed many innovative, and sometimes controversial designs. In 1964 he made headlines with his topless bathing suit, and later a topless dress. He spearheaded the Total Look movement, where the hose and shoes would match the outfit. He turned to many ethnic styles of dress for ideas, such as East Indian or Oriental styles. In the late 70s he invented the thong bikini.

Thea Porter
Thea Porter: bohemian, advocate of flower power and free-thinker... Porter started designing clothing in 1964 after running a shop that sold antique carpets and textiles. Her designs were inspired by Eastern and Middle-Eastern textiles before they became widely popular in the late Sixties. She opened a store in New York in 1968, and one in Paris in the early Seventies. She promoted the ethnic and gypsy styles of clothing popular in the early Seventies.

Emilio Pucci

Pucci had not originally intended to be a fashion designer. He had spent many years in America and Italy continuing his education, eventually receiving a doctorate in political science. Pucci started his career in fashion after he was photographed on the ski slopes of Italy wearing ski pants of his own design. The magazine Harper's Bazaar, who had photographed these pants, asked him to design winter clothing for women which it published and which were later sold in stores in New York. He became a sportswear designer in the Fifties, but is most famous for his designs of the 60s, notably his psychedelic swirled textile patterns used in dresses and capri pants, and his space-age designs such as Braniff flight attendants' outfits. See next.

Braniff uniforms
Mary Quant - Mary Quant is credited with many fashion innovations of the Sixties, including the miniskirt, the trouser suit, PVC rainwear, and hot pants. She opened her boutique, Bazaar, in London in 1955 with her husband Alexander Plunket-Greene, who was as daring and irreverent as she was. She started designing her own clothes a year later because she could not find the kind of clothes she wanted to stock in her shop. Her clothes were whimsical and simple in design. She soon branched out into hosiery and cosmetics. Her popularity continued into the early Seventies, but as fashions changed Quant shifted her focus to items like housewares and home linens. Her skin care and makeup lines continue to be popular today.

Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne began his career designing plastic jewelry for Dior, Balenciaga and Givenchy before turning to fashion design. These jewelry designs were a prelude to the fashions for which he became famous. In 1965 he designed a dress made of plastic discs linked together like chain mail. He designed dresses made of metal squares, discs or triangles joined together, in long or short lengths, and used unusual materials such as crinkled paper and aluminum. He also designed costumes for films such as Casino Royale and Two for the Road. A futuristic designer, he created the space-age costumes for the 1968 film Barbarella.

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent's first collection, designed for the House of Dior in 1958, introduced the Trapeze dress. This was a mid-length prelude to the A-line dresses of the mods, but with exquisite tailoring. In 1965 YSL started a Pop Art movement in couture fashion when he created his "Mondrian" dress, based on Mondrian's painting "Broadway Boogie Woogie". (Remember the Partridge Family's bus?)  Like Courreges and Cardin, YSL created daring, contemporary designs that reflected the sixties youthful movement in fashion.

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