Barbie mania at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Barbie mania made an indelible impression on the lives of countless little girls, reaching a peak of popularity in the 1980s. More than just a toy, Barbie is a reflection of the mores of an era, their evolution and their revolution. In 1959, when Mattel first placed the iconic doll on the market, she embodied the American way of life, but this conception grew, embracing a more universal dimension and becoming a social, political and cultural phenomenon. Now, a new exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs draws upon the Mattel archives to reveal a still little-known historical heritage. Barbie is often regarded as a paradoxical icon, often denounced for being unrealistically idealised, yet still offering a role model, a vision of capable and versatile femininity, autonomous and independent, embracing all the potential of the contemporary era. Thus, the current exhibition proposes two possible readings of these ‘Barbie lives’, acknowledging the sheer jubilation of this universally recognised toy, while placing her in an economic and sociological context. Such is her standing that many couturiers have personally designed outfits for Barbie, and the exhibition will also feature several of these creations. Documents including newspaper clippings and photos will also help to place the classic doll in the context of her various times. JR.
Barbie; Life of an Icon, From March 10th to September 18th at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Less than 30 minutes from the Hotel Fabric
107 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00, late opening Thursday until 21:00
Photo credit: Mattel - Barbie; Life of an Icon, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs