I am loving the 1/6th scale doll and Barbie doll explosion in the miniature world. It’s truly a millennial hobby and art form that gives me confidence that the miniature passion and lifestyle continues on to future generations. This is not just collecting Barbie and Ken dolls, but a reality-TV inspired display of mini-fashionistas, lifestyle situations, dolls basking in bling-bling room interiors, and mini luxurys vehicles. In most cases, the dolls are often not Barbie dolls but dolls created by the very, very popular Phicen Company and the dolls are as realistic in look and feel as a 1/6th scale doll can possibly be.
I grew up with Barbie Dolls and had a Christie, introduced in 1968. Christie was not the first Barbie doll of color (that was Francie) but definitely the first African American Barbie doll. The “Black Barbie” was launched in 1980 but still had Caucasian features albeit dark skin. Mattel got its act together and in September 2009, introduced the So In Style dolls, which was intended to celebrate the many hues and features of African Americans–the line includes seven skin tones, twenty-two eye colors, and twenty-four hairstyles.
I lived in New York City in the 1990s and FAO Schwartz was (and still is) a fancy toy store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza that had a Barbie Collectibles wing. At least once a year, I’d stroll through that wing, enjoying the history, past and latest fashions and the Barbie dolls with themes based on what was trending. This was pre-social media and the very dawn of the Internet so I remember Madonna, acid-washed jeans, graffiti finally recognized as a form of artistic expression and the world starting to embrace hip-hop.
So, I have enjoyed the posts of my fellow miniaturist and friend, Cody Brook’s @StovalltheDoll and the daily activities of Stovall and his “doll world”; the detail of the scale, the accessories, and most of all, the fashion are amazing–Stovall and his doll friends are some fashionable dudes.
Anyway, the Barbie Expo in Montréal’s Les Cours Mont-Royal, an upscale shopping center in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a showcase of different clothes, styles designed for Barbie dolls by some of the world’s most famous designers and stylists. I think Carol Katz’s testimony of the expo is the perfect review and testimonial of this groundbreaking showcase that also provides a fun and visually stunning platform for fashion, style, and miniature art for all ages.
Here’s the virtual expo of the Barbie Expo. The expo is the largest permanent exhibition of Barbie dolls in the world, and features over 1,000 Barbies, including Hollywood stars, unique one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls and glamorous outfits created by famous fashion designers.