August 19, 2012

A Spectacularly un-Conventional Fashion Show!

By Chris Varaste

I just returned from this year’s Barbie® Convention held at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County, CA, and as is often the case, I can’t wait to go back next year! As far as guilty pleasures go, Barbie Conventions remind me of fabulous televised special events like the Olympics or Academy Awards (except, ha, we always want the Oscars to end…)!For me, that's mostly because it’s a great escape from my daily life—a playground, where I get to reconnect with friendsGay Parisienne I've known for years. This year, the playful nature of the Breakfast in Paris/Fashion Show was my favorite highlight, with BFMC principal designer Robert Best presiding as an entertaining Master of Ceremonies!

Many of Barbie’s most memorable ensembles from the past five decades (and counting!) were meticulously reproduced for real live models to parade down the catwalk. There was the iconic Gay Parisienne®, as well as, Wedding Day® Set, both from 1959. Ken and Barbie in Switzerland (1964) were also on display, along with a perfect Scottish Barbie from the original Dolls of the World International Series (1980/81).

FanWedding Days celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the BFMC with life-sized tributes to Silkstone® Barbie dolls and fashions from the past decade—among my faves: Hollywood Hostess (2007), True Brit (2006) and The Artist (2008). Other Barbie Collector highlights included, Arabian Nights Ken (Mystery and Magic series, 2001), Nichelle®, Urban Hipster from the Model of the Moment series(2004), a fabulous recreation of 2009’s Generation of Dreams Barbie and last year’s sensational tokidoki® Barbie doll.

All will agree that the fashion show was a well-orchestrated spectacle of Barbie fashion eye candy—until popular Mattel designer Bill Greening stole the show! Greening, along with three friends, stormed the runway decked out in vintage Pan Am Airways Stewardess uniforms! Over the years, Bill Greening has created some unforgettable Barbie dolls—just look at this year’s Empress of the Aliens—however, it was Greening himself who made a lasting impression for this year’s show!

Next year, if you could model a Barbie/Ken fashion , which would it be? Think ahead, it could happen!



Chris Varaste started out at ABC-TV, producing segments for the Emmys, Tonys & Grammys. A fascination with fashion and pop culture led to his first published book, Barbie: Face of the American Dream – and an appreciation for all things Barbie! His insights on collectibles/brand success have been published in the New York Times, The Economist, and Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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