Barbie's Big Birthday

The beloved toy and fashion icon celebrates a birthday milestone.

February 28, 2009, 6:24 PM

March 1, 2009— -- She's the doll with it all. At 50 years young, Barbie has never looked better. The leggy blonde debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959, and has come a long way since then.

Starting out as a teenage fashion model, she has famously evolved, finding her independence and adding to her resume by trying dozens of careers from Olympic skater to presidential candidate.

As the No. 1 fashion doll, Barbie represents over a dozen different countries and cultures. She is synonymous with aspiration, cultural relevance, and, of course, style.

"The DNA of Barbie is always on the moment, right on trend, never too trendy," said Richard Dickson, general manager and vice president of Barbie World Wide. "So as the times change, Barbie changes right with it."

Representing an icon in fashion for five decades, it only seemed appropriate Barbie be celebrated at a star-studded show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

Fifty big-name designers -- including Vera Wang, Michael Khors and Catherine Malandrino -- each created a Barbie-inspired outfit as part of the show honoring her past, present and future.

Designer Catherine Maladrino was thrilled to be a part of the event and told Good Morning America Weekend that when designing her dress, "it was a lot of fun because it was a process, and I came back with the idea of her wearing an American flag dress to symbolize the iconic moment."

Although Barbie continues to inspire and aspire, she wouldn't be a true celebrity without some controversy, most notably her unattainable measurements.

"Barbie's sculpt has changed as women have changed," Dickson said. "She's become more athletic looking when athleticism was part of the trend and she constantly evolves her body.

"But truthfully, when adults put that stereotype on Barbie, it is a distraction for us," he said. "We are a good brand and we inspire girls around the world to do amazing things, and we are very proud of who we are and what we are."

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