"I've never played with a doll in my life," admitted Diane von Furstenberg at Saturday's Barbie fashion spectacle celebrating the iconic doll's 50th anniversary. "Pink Power" was the name of the game at Bryant Park, from the pink runway and seats to the entire venue awash in the bubblegum hue. Von Furstenberg was just one of many designers in attendance, including Peter Som, Rachel Roy, and Catherine Malandrino, who had designed or provided ensembles for real-life models made over into Barbie to strut down the catwalk.
Taking it all in was everyone from cast members of The Real Housewives of New York City to Heidi Klum and Djimon Honsou and Kimora Lee Simmons. Dylan Lauren, meanwhile, designed the special milk chocolate candies left at each guest's seat. "My dad, Ralph, never did a Barbie," she said, adding that she grew up playing with Barbie, who made her want to be blonde and not brunette. "But I'm getting my own Dylan Barbie soon; she wears a big dress gown of candy."
Before the first model stepped onto the catwalk, Barbie show producers presented a brilliantly-conceived video timeline (set to one of the best soundtracks I have heard to date) outlining the doll's evolution. Fun fact: when Barbie and Ken first debuted, she was $3 dollars; he was $3.50.
Vera Wang, Marchesa, Derek Lam, Reem Acra, Nicole Miller, and Juicy Couture all saw their designs come down the lengthy runway (think 30 full minutes). Kenneth Cole, meanwhile, designed outfits for both Barbie and Ken to wear. Betsey Johnson's green taffeta design was a particular hit with the kids in the crowd. As the models paraded down in unison at the end of the show, each held onto the hands of a Barbie ballerina-all the while with tons of metallic pink confetti showering down on guests. As the Barbie adage goes, "A plastic tan never fades." Truer words could not have been uttered.
Jim Shi was born in Brussels, Belgium and grew up in Paris before moving to New York City. For the past four and a half years, Shi was fashion news editor of IMG's fashion and media industry publication The Daily and editor of its sister web site, Fashion Week Daily. He has covered Fashion Weeks in New York, Milan, and Paris.
PHOTOS BY PATRICK MCMULLAN