Barbie, Icon of California Design

Barbie

We’ve been working with Mattel for the past few years on Barbie and currently over at the LACMA, as part of California Design, 1930-1965: “Living in a Modern Way,” the original 1959 Barbie doll and her boyfriend, Ken, introduced in 1961, are on display.

Originally designed in Hawthorne but made in Tokyo, the dolls are a gift from Mattel, Inc., sponsor of the exhibition and an example of a postwar California success story. Formed around 1945 in a Los Angeles garage, Mattel envisioned a three-dimensional fashion doll onto which a child “could project her own dreams of the future.” Fifteen years later, Barbie was born.

Barbie

It was interesting to see Barbie’s Dream House, which was made out of cardboard, but surprisingly modern in design.

Barbie

barbie

Be sure to check out the exhibition before it closes to see many of the great California design stories.

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