Guilty pleasure alert – it’s National Barbie Day! Toy maker Mattel revolutionised the iconic doll last year by introducing curvy, petite and tall body shapes – as well as a wide range of skin tones, eye colours and hairstyles for more diversity. The current campaign even tells young girls “You can be anything” you want. But even before the girl-power makeover, Barbie was more than just a skinny blonde in pink dresses. To celebrate we’ve taken a look back and discovered some retro dolls that were actually pretty cool…
1. Astronaut Barbies
Astronaut Barbie is a classic, here pictured throughout years in the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. The first astronaut Barbie (left) was released in 1965, two years after Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space in 1963.
2. Business Woman Barbie
This business woman Barbie from Mattel’s 1999 line of “Generation Girls” came with a play laptop and cell phone, as well as a real CD-ROM that allowed kids to create their own business cards and stationery.
3. Legally Blonde Barbie
It might be a blonde Barbie in a pink dress – but it’s modelled after no one less than Elle Woods, Legally Blonde‘s ambitious law student that showed everyone you can be clever and dress well at the same time.
4. Formula One Barbies
Instead of cheering for Ken, Barbie drives the Formula One car herself; here shown in various racer outfits at a Barbie exhibition in 2004.
5. Americana Barbies
Here are four Barbie dolls from the 1980s in seriously cool outfits that could have easily been part of AW17’s countless Americana-themed collections…
6. Policewoman Barbie
Barbie’s CV is pretty impressive: She’s been everything from nurse to rockstar and pilot. Here she is fighting crimes as a policewoman in the 1990s.
7. Baseball Barbies
Barbie broke the stereotypes of male-dominated sport Baseball in 1999 with a line of dolls in authentic Dodgers, Yankees and Chicago Cubs outfits.