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Barbie at 50 The iconic fashion doll has held a lifelong fascination for Margaret Matsui, 49, who parlayed a childhood infatuation into a trading company, My Favourite Doll.
In a nondescript commercial building strip in Mississauga, Ont., Matsui houses hundreds of Barbie dolls spanning 50 years, including the toy's first 1959 incarnation valued at $10,000: A buxomly blond wearing a black and white bathing suit, a "sassy" ponytail, high arched brows and a pursed red mouth a la Marilyn Monroe. "The most important thing is that Barbie changed with the times," Matsui said. "She reflects what's happening in society and pop culture. That's her big secret. She's managed to stay current kate spade handbags and relevant." In the 1960s, for instance, Barbie sported the latest in haute couture, following in the style footsteps kate spade outlet online shopping of Jackie Onassis. Neil Armstrong's first lunar landing inspired Barbie to reach for the moon and she became an astronaut. Barbie and the Rockers also epitomized the kate spade pink wallet with bow neon spirit of the 1980s and donned bangles, leggings and shoulder pads. According to a Harris/Decima poll conducted for Mattel, 69% of Canadian women surveyed said they played with a Barbie in their girlhood. "Barbie represents independence and confidence in a woman," said Mattel spokesman Reiden Goode. "She has the amazing ability to have fun and remain glamorous. She reflects anything you want to be and allows little girls to dream." After getting her first Barbie at the age of three, Matsui became hooked, living vicariously through her dolls. "I grew up in the country and I was a tomboy," Matsui said. "I played football, hockey and played with the boys. But then I could go home, play with Barbie and go to the prom. It offered me that balance of being a tomboy and being a girl." Barbie's iconic blond locks, aqua blue eyes and cinched waist have been both mimicked by Hollywood and lambasted by feminists for perpetuating an impossible beauty ideal. The doll has been parodied by pop group Aqua, who penned the song Barbie Girl in 1997, which poked fun at her "life in plastic, it's fantastic." In what's accepted as a stamp of true fame in Hollywood, Barbie was also lampooned by Saturday Night Live in sketches selling "Gangsta Bitch Barbie" and "Tupac Ken." The fashionista doll has been gowned by some of the world's most famous designers, including Calvin Klein, John Galliano, Versace and Vera Wang. It's been calculated that if Barbie were a real woman, her measurements would be an unrealistic 39 23 33. While most kate spade being sold women will make an average of four to six career changes, Barbie has reinvented herself 108 times. army officer, Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, a doctor, astronaut, TV chef and a presidential candidate. Despite her string of career successes, Barbie's personal life took a hit in 2004 when her 43 year relationship with Ken ended. The two never married and while they agreed to spend time apart, Ken made a play back into her heart in 2006. Barbie wants to stay "friends." She also faces fierce competition from her younger rivals. Bratz dolls have been encroaching on her turf with their glamazon faces, midriff baring fashions, voluminous hair and pouty puckers. Barbie's agent, Mattel, reported in February that fourth quarter profits fell almost by half, driving shares down more than 15%. But Barbie is gunning for a spectacular comeback in her 50th year, and handlers say she'll reinvent herself yet again. "Barbie of 2009 is an independent, confident woman," Goode said.
"She's unapologetically glamorous and proud of that. She's timeless, a do gooder and has a playful spirit.".
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