Monday, March 09, 2009

Barbies' Happy (Birthday) Chic new digs

Revile her or love her, Barbie® is undeniably an icon. And today, she's a fifty year old icon! Of course, not only have we had to grow up with her impossibly leggy figure as something attainable, now we have to deal with the fact that she's ageless as well??? What's a gal to do? Well, in truth, I am not quite Barbie's age, having been born in the 60's. But, as the youngest cousin of my family, I was the recipient of many hand-me-down toys, including some vintage Barbies that I sure wish I'd kept hold of!

My Mother never had any political issues with Barbie, but she did have issues with spending money unnecessarily, so as long as I had the cousin hand-me-downs, there was no need for me to have the latest and coolest Barbie doll or accessory. And, not having been a doll girl herself, my Mother didn't quite get the desire for all the accoutrement of the brand. Which, today, I totally agree with. But at the time, I recall feeling quite deprived!

I would have loved to have been able to play with Barbie's Dream House, that's for sure. I think the best one ever was the original Mid-C modern complete with daybed, tufted chair/ottoman and television and stereo console - all rendered in cardboard. Now this was a design for the ages!

1960 Dream House - the first, the best

As time passed, new designs were released, but none in my opinion matched the real design style of the first 1960 version.

1974 Town House - complete with elevator lift
1979 Dream House

1984 Dream Cottage

2008 3-story Dream House - a horror of design style and color palette.

One thing about Barbie - she's always been colorful. But, she clearly needed a real interior decorator. Enter Jonathan Adler. The Happy Chic potter was tapped to trick out a real life, 3,500 sq. ft. Malibu house in honor of Barbie's Golden anniversary.

Exterior of 2009 Real Barbie Dreamhouse in Malibu

Jonathan Adler's rendering of his Barbie dream house living room design

And the real thing, complete with Barbie rug (hate it), roundabout sofa (hate the plummage) and semi-circular sofa. I do like the fact that Jonathan "J'Adore" Adler has small style references to the original - including the tufted pieces and the curved sofa (very Mid-C Mod).
Adler's rendering of Barbie's glam new bedroom. Quite a step up from the 1960 day bed and built-in vanity.

Barbie's pink shoe-orgy dressing room. Shoe's design by Christian Louboutin for the occasion.

The new Barbie Dream House is being unveiled today (with more photos hopefully available). Following the festivities, most of Barbie's custom decor will be shipped to the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to furnish a special pink-tinted Barbie Suite that will be available for bachelorette parties, birthdays or anyone who wants to live like Barbie. Other items will be available from the "Jonathan Adler Loves Barbie" collection launching in September - but of course.

Adler's favorite furnishings are hanging in the living room: an original Andy Warhol portrait of Barbie valued at over $200,000 and a chandelier — designed by "Project Runway" contestant Chris March — that's made up of over 30 blond wigs and took more than 60 hours to craft. Adler also admires a one-of-a-kind black-and-white wall mirror created with 64 dolls.

ETA: National Public Radio had this interview with Jonathan Adler today.


A precurser to JA's Barbie design project was this amazing work by Michael Williams, who created an entire diorama set of a house for Barbie, using all Jonathan Adler products. These are totally amazing:

Click here to see more. I think Michael Williams does Jonathan Adler better than Jonathan Adler!

Images courtesy of:
Associated Press (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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Tbone said...

Love, love it!!

Patricia Gray said...

Would I have loved to be at the party last night.

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