Barbie in Ralph Lauren. Image Credit: Mall of the Emirates

Barbie, the evergreen fashionista, is in town in 24 limited-edition avatars at the Mall of the Emirates. The collectible dolls, all wearing hand-crafted designer outfits by some of the world’s top designers, are in Dubai to mark the 10th anniversary of the mall.

The exhibition will run at the mall’s central galleria until September 9 followed by a Barbie Rock ‘n’ Royals musical show until September 14.

“Barbie is the role model for girls inspiring creativity... and gives the possibility to girls to be anything they want to from musicians to fashionistas and film stars. It empowers young girls and dares them to dream,” said Jagoda Rozkrut, the brand manager for Barbie, Mattel. “In the last 50 years, this doll has evolved to meet the needs and expectations of young girls reflecting the cultural needs of the times. It is no longer just the blonde, blue-eyed Barbie, but has acquired a variety of skin tones, hair colours, hair styles and attires to resonate with the cosmopolitan modern woman. Barbie has also worn flats, discarding heels in some versions, balancing fashion with functionality. It is truly a contemporary brand that has inspired generations of top designers to create haute couture dresses and we showcase some of the finest here.”

The story of Barbara Millicent Robert aka Barbie is one that began on March 9, 1959, when she was unveiled to the New York Toy Fair as the original teenage fashion model. She has since had 150 different versions worldwide.

Creator of Barbie, Ruth Handler sums it up beautifully: “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”


Here is the full list of the Barbie Collector Dolls at the Mall of the Emirates exhibition:


1. Herve Leger 2013

Designed by renowned designer Max Azria for Herve Leger, this red hot, authentic Herve Leger bandage dress, faux leather corset-style belt, tall gladiator boots and signature black and gold clutch are constructed from authentic Herve Leger materials and manufactured at the same factory that produces the actual designer collection.


2. Donna Karan 1995

Sporting a mid-nineties Donna Karan-designed ensemble, Barbie wears a black mock turtleneck, sarong skirt, fringed red shawl, black pantyhose and a classy beret. Inspired by the bustling shopping avenues of New York, her accessories include a purse, black sunglasses and Bloomingdales shopping bag.


3. Calvin Klein 1996

Hip, happening and ready to dance the Macarena, Barbie is decked to the nines in vintage Calvin Klein. Wearing a real denim skirt with an authentic CK label, trendy grey crop top and denim jacket, her accessories include a backpack, CK windbreaker, sneakers and baseball cap.


4. Ralph Lauren 1997

A tribute to timeless, feminine style, Barbie wears an authentic Ralph Lauren design — a double-breasted navy wool-blend jacket with patch pockets, gold-tone button detail and a navy knit turtleneck bodysuit, grey wool-blend pants and a double-breasted camel overcoat.


5. Christian Dior 1997

Barbie celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Christian Dior with an authentic reproduction of a 1947 Dior style. This ensemble captures Dior’s famed New Look silhouette, featuring the narrow shoulders and full, calf-length skirt. Accessories include a Parisian straw hat, single strand faux pearl necklace, stockings, garter and a black lace-trimmed tulle petticoat.


6. Oscar de la Renta 1998

Barbie is the picture of understated opulence in Oscar de la Renta. She wears a bodice of golden brocade overlaid with chocolate coloured lace and dazzling sequins and beads. With long, elegant lace sleeves with faux fur arms, an opulent full skirt of golden brocade and an underskirt of tulle with golden edging, a golden faux topaz brooch and a chocolate brown lace shawl complete this ensemble.


7. Byron Lars 1999

Spectacularly styled by Byron Lars, Barbie’s ensemble features a lined aubergine coat that flows into a long asymmetrical train. Oversized, brown faux fur cuffs and rhinestone details add captivating flair, with a strapless turquoise bodice and a form-fitting plum skirt with brown and golden lace overlay. Sparkling earrings and an updo styled in large barrel curls add the final glamorous touches.


8. Givenchy 2000

Barbie wears a classic reproduction of a 1956 gown by designer Givenchy. Known for upscale, chic glamour, his sleek design features Barbie in a slim-fitting, black evening gown accented by velvety straps. A jet-black faux fur stole with matching black moire lining and long, black opera gloves provide the final details.


9. Burberry 2001

Barbie celebrates the tradition of the Burberry fashion label with this ensemble — a classic tan, double-breasted trench coat, lined with signature Burberry plaid. A long sleeve black jersey sweater is a dramatic contrast to the striking Burberry plaid kilt and scarf with red reverse, plaid messenger bag, and black shoes with spats.


10. Armani 2003

Armani Barbie wears a two-piece taupe ensemble consisting of a long crepe skirt with sparkle tulle overlay and floral beading, under a scarf style strapless chiffon top. Elegant accessories include heliotrope drop earrings, lariat-style necklace, beaded taupe crepe purse and heels. Barbie wears her blonde hair in a classic chignon bun.


11. Kate Spade 2003

Barbie wears a stylish 3-quarter length, 3-button coat in a printed green, hot pink, light pink and white jacquard. She carries a basket purse with gold detail and traditional Kate Spade logo, and an off-white canvas tote that holds the designer’s beloved dog, Henry. Accessories include an antique finish necklace and earrings, large round sunglasses perched atop her updo and stylish green high heel sandal shoes.


12. Versace 2004

Leading international fashion house Versace is recognised around the world for luxury clothing and lifestyle accessories. Barbie wears a sleeveless taupe gown with a long, hip hugging bodice of laced taupe ribbon, while artful chiffon ruffles tumble downwards creating a sumptuous sense of motion.


13. E! Red Carpet Badgley Mischka 2008

Barbie makes her debut on the Red Carpet with E! wearing a stunning custom gown created by acclaimed designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka. Her gown in midnight blue inset is accented by a golden brooch, bracelet and earrings, with smoky eyes and an evening hairstyle.


14. Badgley Mischka 2006

Barbie wears a delicate pink silk dress with white lace, an elegant rose and glittering beads complement a pink chiffon stole.


15. Monique Lhuillier 2006

Notable fashion designer Monique Lhuillier designs the Monique Lhuillier Bride Barbie. This gown features an off-white lace bodice and a full tulle skirt, while a sable-coloured satin sash — embroidered and decorated with faux pearls and tiny silvery sequins — accents the waist with a rhinestone floral brooch.


16. MAC 2007

The collectible MAC Barbie features a glam, hip look inspired by the colour collection and includes a MAC “cosmetics” train case. Styled by MAC, this Barbie has two-toned, blunt-cut hair, with makeup inspired by MAC products.


17. Carolina Herrera 2005

Barbie wears a Carolina Herrera bridal gown, with elegant lines and original accents featuring satin ribbons and intertwined organza. A white veil decorated with lace and artificial pearls cover her two-toned hair while she wears simple make-up and earrings.


18. Christian Louboutin 2010

In shoe designer, Christian Louboutin’s third collector Barbie, she is dressed in a lime green satin dress, finished with a purple bow ending in a train, and of course, a pair of signature shoes from Louboutin. Her red hair is complemented by am intricately shaped silver bracelet with crystals.


19. Zuhair Murad 2014

Drawing inspiration from Egyptian princesses and Grecian goddesses, Zuhair Murad Barbie wears a re-creation of a Murad design with a strapless, nude-hued gown featuring a dramatic, striped geometric design. A beautiful blonde updo and drop earrings complete the look.


20. Todd Oldham 1999

This bold contemporary outfit is the epitome of Todd Oldham’s fashion perspective. He dresses Barbie a full-length leopard-print coat with aqua satin lining, paired with a golden satin mini skirt with turquoise and brown embroidery. A sheer black t-shirt with decorative stripes and barrette with three crystals in Barbie’s auburn hair adds the final touch.


21. Coach 2013

The Coach Barbie doll wears a classic Tattersall trench over a striped sweater, and ultrasuede skirt. Barbie is accessorised with red round-framed sunglasses and heels from the Coach collection. The doll’s chic look is completed with a Barbie-size signature red leather Classic Coach duffle — produced from start to finish by the Coach design house.


22. Nolan Miller Sheer Illusion 1998

Nolan Miller shows off Barbie in this slip-style sheer gown of black tulle with lace trim. A high collared, full-length jacket decorated with patterns complements the look.


23. Nolan Miller Evening Illusion 1999

In a stylish, long sheath of sky blue charmeuse overlaid with black lace, Barbie sports lacy straps and a long, cascading train featuring intricate beading and a scalloped trim. A bodice of champagne coloured charmeuse under a splash of black lace is gently draped with a faux fur stole.


24. Stephen Burrow Alazne 2013

Stephen Burrows dresses Barbie in a floor-length coral gown adorned in countless, shimmering paillettes. The striking collar and fingerless opera gloves create an elegant, yet modern look, while a towering headpiece covers her flocked hair and golden hoop earrings frame her face.





1. Barbie first appeared in the now-famous black-and-white striped swimsuit.

2. Barbie is from (fictional) Willows, Wisconsin, where she attended high school.

3. Barbie doll’s first pet was a horse named Dancer.

4. Barbie doll stands 11.5 inches (29cm) tall.

5. Barbie has been a muse to many artists for over five decades — including Andy Warhol and Peter Max.

6. Barbie doll made her European debut in 1961.

7. Barbie has set sail on the high seas with Royal Caribbean International, bringing a unique Barbie experience to its fleet of 21 ships around the world.

8. The best-selling Barbie doll ever was 1992 Totally Hair doll, with hair from the top of her head to her toes.

9. Barbie first broke through the plastic ceiling as a business executive in 1985.

10. Although she has never won an election, Barbie has run for president 6 times since 1992.