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