The Barbie Collection website is a dangerous place; I spent an hour scrolling through all the different Barbies and their elaborate outfits and ended up wishing that I didn’t sell all of mine at a yard sale in 2006. I even found one that I had (2000 Celebration)! The Barbies of the World were intriguing, especially considering all of the stereotypes that they embodied, but even more interesting were the Designer Barbies. As if collector Barbies couldn’t get any more extravagant, these dolls feature clothes that were designed by world famous designers such as Christian Louboutin, Burberry, and Armani. Barbie models ballgowns, fur boas, and even wedding dresses in this series. The fact that a doll has nicer clothes than myself is a little disturbing.
The material side of Barbie is explained by the collectability and the style that she embodies. Without her fancy clothes, what would there be to collect? Yes, there are different Barbies with a variety of hair and skin colors, but the clothes are what make her so collectable (Pearson and Mullins). By creating over a thousand different outfits, Mattel has created not only a toy for girls but an item for adults to obsess over as well. Clothes are a necessity that many cultures, including our own, have turned into something materialistic. I will even admit that buying clothes is one of the most satisfying feelings, hence “retail therapy”. So by buying a collector Barbie a person is not only getting a doll, he/she is buying an outfit. The Designer Barbies take retail therapy to the next level. Barbie’s outfit becomes even more extravagant and flashy, which is mouth-watering for collectors. When you throw a pink floral Kate Spade trenchcoat on her, the material level of a Barbie doll is enchanced by a thousand. The Designer series of Barbies shows the material culture that surrounds Barbie, even more than the doll itself.