De­signeer doll

Sal­abi­anca joins big names in fashion that have had the dis­tinc­tion of dress­ing Bar­bie.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by S.S. YOGA Pho­tos by H. LIN HO

MIL­LI­CENT Roberts gets a help­ing hand from a Malaysian de­sign la­bel. If you’re won­der­ing who we’re talk­ing about, that’s the iconic Bar­bie doll’s full name. And, the la­bel that got the cov­eted job of dress­ing her up – Sal­abi­anca!

The duo be­hind the la­bel, Tino Soon and Al­lan Chan, are ec­static to be en­trusted with the task of pro­duc­ing a col­lec­tion for Bar­bie.

Be­fore them, some of fashion’s biggest names such as Ar­mani, Chris­tian Dior, Givenchy, Burberry, Ver­sace, Os­car de la Renta and Bill Blass had the en­vi­able dis­tinc­tion of de­sign­ing for Bar­bie. De­sign­ers Vera Wang and Carolina Her­rera came up with wed­ding gowns for Bar­bie, and even the il­lus­tri­ous Chris­tian Louboutin made a pair of his sig­na­ture red-soled shoes for the doll.

Since she burst onto the scene in 1959 cour­tesy of Mat­tel Inc., de­sign­ers all over the world have con­sid­ered it an hon­our to have their name added to her wardrobe.

Bar­bie has been hailed as a fashion icon that knows no bounds, tran­scend­ing all ages, and is loved by chil­dren and women alike. She plays the lead­ing lady when it comes to in­spir­ing cre­ative minds, cap­tur­ing the imag­i­na­tion of peo­ple from all walks of life.

There was even a hit song that was in­spired by the Bar­bie im­age!

She has ra­bid col­lec­tors from all walks of life and there are an es­ti­mated 100,000 col­lec­tors glob­ally, most of whom are women in their 40s.

Mat­tel South-East Asia li­cens­ing man­ager Gan Lay Koon says that world­wide, they have al­ways col­lab­o­rated with lo­cal de­sign­ers. One of the rea­sons they chose Sal­abi­anca was

be­cause the brand is a pi­o­neer in lo­cal fashion.

“It’s also very in­no­va­tive in the way the prod­ucts are mar­keted. I per­son­ally love what they have come up with for Bar­bie,” she en­thuses.

It’s the first time in the doll’s his­tory that a Malaysian ready-to-wear cloth­ing brand has been picked by Mat­tel to dress

the orig­i­nal leggy blonde com­mer­cially. Pre­vi­ously, col­lab­o­ra­tions with Malaysian de­sign­ers were limited to one-off gowns made for char­ity auc­tions and other spe­cial projects.

Soon, the de­sign­ing half of the duo says it took them eight months to wrap up the Bar­bie Loves Sal­abi­anca doll range.

“But the process has been chal­leng­ing. It’s not easy to pro­duce minia­ture dresses when one is used to mak­ing clothes for adults. Ev­ery­thing, from beads, pleats and even Vel­cro straps have to be su­per small,” says Soon.

He adds that Bar­bie is dressed in black, and he had con­sulted moth­ers and girls on what they wanted their favourite doll to wear. “There are pleats, vol­ume and a touch of pink like on the sash.”

The range in­cludes a Bar­bie doll in ei­ther a tube dress with toile frill or a 1950s dress with pleats and

I’m a Bar­bie girl: Take your pick of three en­sem­bles in­spired by the Bar­bie Sal­abi­anca col­lec­tion.

Classy: Oneshoul­der dress.

Sexy: Hal­ter-neck dress.

Spot the doll: Off­shoul­der bustier dress.

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