All-American Barbie is spreading her wings and going international thanks to three sizzling hot London designers. Barbara Millicent Roberts has come a long way from the home of her parents George and Margaret in Willows, Wisconsin, and has now taken up residence in the toy department on London Selfridges’ fourth floor.
The iconic doll has an entire department devoted all to herself within the store, and her new home comes complete with a designer-stocked closet, thanks to Fred Butler, Nasir Mazhar, and Sister by Sibling. Barbie’s up-to-date, super-edgy wardrobe saw each designer creating several custom-made outfits for the Mattel icon that are as diverse as any fashion-forward doll could hope for. They run the gamut from laid-back crop tops with hotpants and bold, origami-like sculptural creations to head-to-toe mini knitted suits.
Butler has previously produced pieces for musicians including Lady Gaga, stylist Nicola Formichetti and brands such as MTV and Nike. Her spring/summer 2013 “A Bee in my Bonnet with a Honey Haircomb” collection showcases bikinis made up of golden hexagons, large daisies on outfits and shoes, and caps and belts featuring thick lengths of gold chain. Butler has admitted to making clothes for Barbie for many years now, saying, “I basically spent the majority of my childhood playtime making outfits for my Barbie. The fascination never went so when I eventually studied fashion design, I used to create mock-up shapes on a Barbie.”
Nasir Mazhar, British born of Turkish descent, is described as “designing for a new tribe of men and women,” and has created global demand for his quirky twists on traditional hat shapes and headgear. He even had some of his designs featured at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics. One of his signature pieces is a baseball cap with a unique box peak. Sister by Sibling, meanwhile, originally sprung out of label Sibling, which debuted as a menswear line in 2008. Last year, Sister by Sibling showed its first collection for women in London. The label was founded by Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery and has quickly become known for its multicolored, punky knits.
The dedicated Barbie department in Selfridges is also displaying several collector’s editions showcasing items from an enviably large archive wardrobe, which features the likes of clothes designed by Chanel and Prada. It’s an experience that any fan of the 54-year-old doll should relish, especially if they grew up with Barbie as their own personal fashion model.