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‘Barbie: A Cultural Icon’ exhibition coming to Las Vegas in October

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

In partnership with creative design and production company Illusion Projects, Mattel has announced that “Barbie: A Cultural Icon” — the first Barbie doll exhibition to tour in the United States — will launch at The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas in October with additional tour dates to come.

Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition
Image courtesy of “Barbie: A Cultural Icon”

The new exhibition will showcase Barbie’s six-decade evolution into a global icon — her status confirmed by the fact that few people don’t know who Barbie is, whether or not they played with the iconic dolls themselves. For me, it’s twofold: I was certainly a Barbie fan as a kid, but my mom also went to high school with Barbara Handler, the daughter of then Mattel owner (and Barbie’s namesake).

“Barbie has an amazing and inspiring history. There is a real sense of nostalgia when you see what was happening in the world, and in Barbie’s world when you were a kid — and then follow the story to how she’s impacting our world today,”  said Tim Clothier, CEO of Illusion Projects Inc.

Barbie has always been at the intersection of fashion and pop culture and continues to represent global diversity by showcasing a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion. Named the 2020 Top Global Toy Property of the Year by the NPD Group, the brand engages consumers through new product innovation, cultural relevance, digital dialog, and the celebration of female role models. Barbie also received the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards and has served as a creative inspiration to more than 150 designers.

Barbie: A Cultural Icon - Barbie history

To honor Barbie’s 62 years (though she certainly doesn’t look her age), the exhibition will display the very first Barbie doll produced in 1959 and lead guests through the decades, paying homage to both Barbie and the changing world around her. The exhibition will also feature custom-themed displays featuring 150+ vintage dolls, artifacts, and life-sized fashion pieces, as well as video media and interviews with Barbie designers.

“We are excited to partner with Illusion Projects to bring Barbie: A Cultural Icon to Las Vegas,” said Julie Freeland, senior director of location-based entertainment at Mattel. “Barbie is a brand that has evolved through generations, and we can’t wait for fans of all ages to take a journey through time with us!”

In 1985 Oscar de la Renta created a line of designer clothes for Barbie.

There’s no better place for an exhibition honoring a global fashion iconic than The Shops at Crystals, a collection of 50 of the finest luxury brands in the world, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Hermes, Fendi, and Chanel.

“So much of the entertainment and fashion culture of Las Vegas is mirrored in the generations of Barbie,” said Exhibition Executive Director Pete Housley. “The Barbie Exhibition is perfectly positioned in the middle of The Shops at Crystals alongside many of the world-famous fashion brands that Barbie has worn through the decades.”

Pre-sale tickets are $49.95 for adults and $29.99 for children ages 3-12. Pre-Sale vouchers can be redeemed for tickets starting Oct. 10, 2021, and are valid through Jan. 15, 2021.

Click here for more information.

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