The exhibition Barbie – The Icon at MUDEC in Milan focuses on the cultural, anthropological, social, fashion and artistic aspects of Barbie the fashion doll. Museo delle Culture (Museum of Cultures), or MUDEC, is the latest addition to the museum landscape of Milan. It is a center dedicated to interdisciplinary research on the cultures of the world, and focuses on the relationship of these cultures with the city of Milan.
The exhibition Barbie – The Icon, curated by Massimiliano Capella, charts the influence of Barbie over the last half century and her rise to iconic status. The exhibition is divided into seven sections, which include objects, images, videos and ideas on the only doll that has become a “living legend”. The “Barbie-the icon” exhibition, running until 13 March, showcases how Barbie has interpreted global aesthetic and cultural trends over the past 56 years.
A first room entitled “Who is Barbie?” introduces visitors to seven iconic dolls from different decades. Visitors can discover some of Barbie’s secrets, such as her real name, Barbara Millicent Robert. This was given to her by her inventors Ruth and Elliot Handler in 1959.
At the time they would not have conceived that their doll would become the icon she has developed into, criticized for her unrealistic proportions, viewed as the symbol of the stereotypical bimbo, but also dressed by the world’s top designers and the influence of Barbie-doll creations for girls around the world.
Last year at Milan Fashion Week, the Moschino Spring 2015 Pink Barbie collection by American designer Jeremy Scott, Moschino’s new creative director, caused a global sensation for it’s nostalgic Barbie-inspired beauty and fashion.
The Moschino Pink Barbie collection was such a success that Moschino, created by the late Milan-born fashion designer Franco Moschino in 1983, has announced a collaboration with Mattel to create an official Moschino Barbie doll.
This speaks to Barbie’s enduring influence and her great appeal across generations. It also raises questions of how Barbie’s frozen image could possibly evolve over the next 50 years.
Barbie – The Icon at MUDEC is on exhibition through March 2016
Mudec – Museo delle Culture
via Tortona 56, Milano