The Design Museum London is set to host an extraordinary exhibition, “Barbie: The Exhibition,” from 5 July 2024 to 23 February 2025. This major event delves into the design evolution of one of the world’s most iconic dolls: Barbie®. With over 250 remarkable objects on display, the exhibition offers a comprehensive look at Barbie’s journey from 1959 to the present day.

A Cultural and Design Icon

Barbie has transcended her role as a toy to become a cultural icon and a mirror of societal trends. Since her introduction in 1959, Barbie has been a symbol of changing fashions, societal norms, and cultural shifts. The exhibition showcases her evolution, highlighting how she has adapted and influenced various aspects of design and culture over the decades.

Fashion and Barbie: A Dynamic Relationship

One of the key themes of the exhibition is Barbie’s relationship with the fashion world. Major fashion brands, from avant-garde labels to the largest couture houses, have dressed Barbie, making her both a muse and a model. This symbiotic relationship has seen Barbie influence runway trends and street fashion, cementing her status as a fashion icon.

Barbie in Art, Media, and Pop Culture

Barbie’s impact extends beyond fashion into the realms of art, media, and popular culture. She has graced the covers of prestigious magazines like Time and Vogue and has been painted by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol. Barbie has also been the subject of an Oscar-nominated film, further solidifying her status as a global icon.

A Comprehensive Design Story

“Barbie: The Exhibition” tells the story of Barbie’s design evolution, encompassing manufacturing, architecture, fashion, and film. Visitors will see how Barbie’s various careers, homes, and outfits reflect broader cultural and societal trends. This narrative demonstrates the importance of play in design, a concept famously articulated by architect and designer Charles Eames, who noted that “toys and games are the preludes to serious ideas.”

The Importance of Play

The exhibition emphasizes the significance of play in shaping children’s views of adulthood and society. Through imaginative role play, Barbie has influenced the social and emotional development of generations of children. Her extensive career list, including over 260 professions, showcases the vast possibilities that play offers for learning and growth.

“Barbie: The Exhibition” at the Design Museum London is a must-visit for anyone interested in design, fashion, and cultural history. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to explore the multifaceted world of Barbie, a doll that has made a lasting impact on society and continues to inspire and evolve.

Don’t miss your chance to visit the Barbie universe and discover the incredible design story of this timeless icon.