(Corrects T-shirt slogan in eight paragraph to read "Everyone
needs a Ken")
By Aarthi Sivaraman
NEW YORK Feb 14 (Reuters Life!) - Barbie turns 50 this
year but the classic doll was still turning heads at New York's
semi-annual Fashion week as models styled as Mattel Inc's
MAT.N fashion icon took to the catwalk in designer outfits.
Crowds overflowed at the eagerly awaited show, which is
part of a year-long celebration for Barbie's birthday that
Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, is using to try to make
Barbie fashionable again and boost flagging sales.
As pink curtains parted to show video images of Barbie over
the years, the first model hit the runway in a black and white
bathing suit reminiscent of the first generation Barbie.
The runway was taken over by models in dresses designed by
50 top names in the fashion world such as Vera Wang, Badgley
Mischka, Tommy Hilfilger and Calvin Klein.
"Barbie is the quintessential American icon. She represents
a woman's first experience with style, transcending generations
and cultures; she holds a special place in the fashion world
and is an inspiration to many designers," Hilfilger said in a
The designs portrayed past, present and future looks of the
classic doll in colors like black, red and pink and in styles
that included long blond ponytails and futuristic hairstyles.
But pink was a dominant theme at the event, with dresses
paired with pink peep-toe shoes by designer Christian
In keeping with Valentine's Day, Barbie's beau, Ken, made
an appearance on the runway as Barbie's white shirt read:
"Everyone needs a Ken."
The show was one of many steps that Mattel is taking to
revitalize its core doll line among older girls who have dumped
Barbie for more edgy dolls such as MGA Entertainment's Bratz
range or for video games and other electronic toys.
Other events this year include plans to open the brand's
first flagship store in Shanghai in March, hold a Barbie
exhibit in Paris, and run a four-day National Barbie Doll
Collector's Convention in Washington, D.C., in July.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)