If numbers are proof of the iconic doll’s decline because monsters, fairy tale habitues, and a lollipop-looking girl doll are gaining power and popularity in the doll world. Who can save the reign of the beloved 56 year old doll?
Four Super Hero Designers from Mattel, with their flair for fantasy and forward-thinking, are saving the Doll Queen’s integrity, virtues, and prominence.
Robert Best is the leader of the pack. He has worked for Mattel for 19 years. Before his Barbie stint, Best worked for designers Isaac Mizrahi, Anne Klein, and Donna Karan. Thinking that not everyday one is offered the opportunity to design for the most famous doll in the world, Best moved from New York to Los Angeles and became a designer for the iconic doll. His name is associated with the Barbie Fashion Model Collection, a line he created which celebrates Barbie as the ultimate 60’s fashion model with perfectly sewn clothes and detailed accessories. It is considered the gold standard in the Barbie Collector line. His other notable works include Bewitched Barbie, I Dream of Jeannie Barbie, and celebrity dolls like James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Barbara Streisand, and The Audrey Hepburn series.
Robert is also well-known for his stunning fashion sketches for Barbie. The sketches can be seen with the actual doll in the Barbie Collector Catalog and were published in the book 10 Years: Barbie Fashion Model Collection book.
From left to right:Boucle Beauty, Blush Beauty, Fabulously Floral, Lavender Luxe and Little Red Dress.
An original Robert Best fashion illustration for Barbie (Google Images)
Linda Kyaw has been involved with the Dolls of the World series for 10 years now. Her early experience with Mattel was in the face sculpt and design department, until she led the development of, the more than 20 years line, the Dolls of the World Barbie. For the past six years, Kyaw has been a Barbie Collector designer. She designed the first Ken of the World doll, The Pillow Talk gift set, Birthday Wishes Barbie, and the Venetian Muse Barbie.
The Venetian Muse Barbie (Google Images)
Linda Kyaw’s early interpretation/vision for The Venetian Muse Barbie. (Google Images)
Bill Greening first designed for the Pin Box Barbie line or the play lines. He is a Barbie collector himself. He started collecting Barbie dolls in 1987 and was more drawn to the illustrations on vintage boxes as the doll themselves. His Barbie passion led him to pursue fashion design at California State University. Today, Greening designs for the Barbie Collector dolls, where he has designed, the much coveted, Barbie Basics dolls, Barbie Look series, Dynasty Dolls, Ladies of the 80’s collecction, and the Goddess of the Galaxy Barbie.
The complete Barbie Basics Collection. (Google Images)
A Bill Greening rendering of the Holiday Hostess New Year doll (Photo from Google Images)
Carlyle Nuera has been in Mattel since 2010 and has designed the fun and cool Barbie Fashionistas line as well as design contributions to the So In Style line. He also created the one of a kind Adam Lambert doll and Haute Hiver Barbie. Nuera’s popularity grew when he introduced the Mutya Barbie to the world. The doll was inspired by his Filipino culture and his mother, Ruby, who was Miss Tacloban in 1976.
Nuera’s original sketch of Mutya Barbie & the doll itself. (Google Images)
The Barbie Style: Glam Vacation line designed by Carlyle Nuera. (Google Images)