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Barbie and Her World Settle in Musée des Arts Décoratifs

6 May 2016

(Re)discover the universe of the most famous doll in the world through an outstanding exhibition

Launched in 1959, Barbie is one of the most purchased toys in the world. Today, many women can admit to having owned a blond-haired, long-legged doll and its diverse accessories. Sometimes doctor, sometimes astronaut, sometimes waiting for Ken by the pool, Barbie has accompanied millions of kids through childhood – and has probably lost a shoe or two on the way.

With more than a billion dolls sold since its creation, Barbie embodies more than a commercial success: it symbolizes a true role model for children – and particularly for little girls all around the world. The exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs depicts its evolution through the decades, shows collector pieces and explains how the label’s new generation of Barbie aims to stand up for women’s rights and fight idealistic beauty standards. Visitors can look forward to exploring its multi-dimensional story through 700 dolls featured in the exhibition space, creations by contemporary artists, photos and videos contextualising the toy’s many “lives”.

An Iconic Doll: Evolving Through the Years

Each Christmas, Barbie hits the top of children’s list for Santa. As the song goes, “plastic, it’s fantastic” – and so are the endless ranges of accessories coming with the doll. Designer clothes, shoes and bags but also pets, cars and even doctor’s instruments - if you’ve been good all year. The supposedly flawless doll has succeeded in making an entire world out of her Californian image.

But in the real world a height of 5ft8 and weight of just 100lbs is far from matching most women’s body type (which is fortunate, as it has been proven the doll would fall over  if its measurements were applied to real human bodies). Recently, the star of toy stores has finally been changed, after facing much criticism. Early 2016, Mattel launched 3 new body shapes and 7 new skin tones for Barbie. “Curvy”, “tall” and “petite” are now commercialised all around the world to “reflect real women”, explains Mattel’s CEO.

This evolution has been displayed in the corridors of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. In the art déco interiors of the Parisian venue, guests can have a look at the first ever doll and see how it has changed over the past 57 years, adapting to each decades, depending on the social and political norms of the day.

In the Heart of Pop-Culture

From Warhol’s model to Christian Dior’s muse, Barbie is a true icon that awakens people’s interest and curiosity. Through diverse artworks created by the biggest names in fashion and art, the exhibition shows how the blond doll has conquered every area of modern life.

Guests will discover the shoes Christian Louboutin designed and signed for Barbie, the varied outfits Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar De La Renta and Diane Von Furstenberg created for the doll and the many roles she was given throughout her illustrious career. From surgeon to businesswoman, presidential candidate to pilot… Mattel aimed to create an inspirational model little girls could look up to, so they realise their dreams were just as possible as any that boys might have.

Colourful costumes, bright sceneries, set with Ken and friends, ‘Barbie: The Exhibition’ wants visitors to enter the world of the most famous doll in the world – and to remind them how she’s meant to be far more than merely a toy.

Until September 18th, the museum - located right in the heart of the City of Light - is turning into a giant pink house for kids and adults’ enjoyment. And if you’re in the mood for something just as enchanting , head to Angelina to enjoythe best chocolat chaud in town, sat in an elegant, doll’s house-like room…

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