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What did the first Barbie doll look like? Get to know the iconic history of the toy!


Adrian Koźlik |

Barbie is one of the most famous toys in the world. For over 60 years, Barbie has been attracting the attention of both children and adults, being an undoubted icon of mass culture. Barbie, produced by Mattel, wins the hearts of millions of people around the world every year. Since its debut in 1959, this unique doll has gained enormous popularity and has become a symbol of every girl's dreams.

The story of the most popular doll in the world

barbie Barbie was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler, who, inspired by her daughter Barbara, decided to create a doll that would reflect the adult life of a young and very ambitious woman. In 1958, Ruth Handler purchased a German doll in Switzerland called Lilli, which was intended for adults. Barbie was created based on Lilli. Ruth Handler named the doll after her daughter, and Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

The first Barbie doll premiered on March 8, 1959 at the New York Toy Fair. Due to the fact that at that time, toy stores did not offer children's dolls that reflected the adult world. The Barbie doll from Mattel quickly gained a huge career. The new toy was intended to increase interest in fashion among girls, as well as to introduce the culture of consumerism among the youngest recipients, who willingly reach for exclusive products with the logo of their favorite doll. The Barbie doll easily introduced children to the world of wealth and luxury, becoming a creator and fulfilling their youthful dreams.

Barbie's image was constantly changing, moving with the times. It has undergone many metamorphoses and has also become identified with the color pink. The debut Barbie doll was dressed in a black and white swimsuit, black high-heeled mules and very stylish glasses. Both she and subsequent versions of Barbie were identified with the best and most fashionable creations, which made them instantly become a true fashion icon. Fashion created by the world's greatest designers also appeared on popular dolls. Her wardrobe includes designs from fashion houses such as Gucci, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy. We can also notice a change in her personality over time. With the changing role of women in society, she has gained enormous independence, transforming from a standard housewife into a strong independent woman, responding to the needs of an ever-changing world. Her figure and her professions have changed. Currently, the Barbie doll is a symbol of diversity, it has 35 skin tones, 97 hairstyles, 9 body types, and according to the producers, this is only the beginning of her transformation.

A Barbie doll for everyone

first barbie doll The producers of the Barbie doll are aware of the differences between fans of their product around the world. They try to bring them as close as possible and accustom them to the diversity of the world from an early age. Different silhouettes, hairstyles and skin colors are not all that Mattel has chosen. Their rich timeline of diversity is as follows:

  • 1968 - Christie, one of the first black dolls, appears.
  • 1969 - Sister Julia (a nurse and the main character of the series "Julia") is one of the first dolls modeled on black stars.
  • 1971 - Live Action Christie is the first doll that can be placed in various poses.
  • 1980 - The first black and Latino Barbie dolls enter the market.
  • The next step is the appearance of a series of dolls performing unusual professions:

  • 1989 - Barbie Pilotka
  • 1991 - Barbie Admiral of the Navy
  • 1993 - Barbie Medical Sergeant
  • 1995 - Firefighter Barbie
  • 1997 - Barbie Palentologist
  • 2004 and 2008 - Barbie President
  • 2015 - Barbie Astronaut
  • barbie The next step is to introduce dolls inspired by real superheroes to a wider audience. The Barbie Shero series is dedicated to truly extraordinary women, on the basis of which the corresponding doll was created, among them we can find:

  • Ibtihaj Muhammad the first Barbie doll in a hijab. Her prototype is an American saber fighter, a Muslim.
  • Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter, known to a wider audience thanks to her numerous self-portraits. She touched upon difficult topics in her art and is a very important figure for feminism.
  • Sky Brown, born in 2008, is the youngest professional skateboarder in the world. He is of Japanese descent and represents Great Britain.
  • Celia Cruz was the most popular Cuban singer and one of the highest-paid Latin American singers in the world.
  • Anita Włodarczyk, the Polish great champion, also has a Barbie doll based on her extraordinary and very inspiring sports career.
  • If you would like to organize a Barbie-style party, click here and get some interesting ideas!


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