Celebrating a Legend: A Look at Barbie’s Style from the Target Archives

February 11, 2014 - Article reads in

Since Mattel first introduced Barbara Millicent Roberts——internationally known as Barbie——in March 1959, this doll has made her iconic mark on the world. For more than 55 years, she’s been a part of cultural conversation, inspiration for girls everywhere and a fixture on Target shelves.

Professionally, Barbie may have only started out with few job options, but she’s since juggled more than 150 careers, from Astronaut (1965) and Doctor (1988) to Engineer (1996) and Presidential Candidate (2004). No matter where she’s been, or how she’s evolved throughout the decades, Barbie knows where she comes from. It all started in 1959 with a signature swimsuit——a black and white striped one-piece——and perky ponytail.

Now, Barbie is once again putting on her iconic bathing suit in which she first appeared in 1959 to join the legendary models of Sports Illustrated in celebration of their 50th anniversary issue. The 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit celebrates “Legends”——like Barbie——who may have debuted as fashion models in a swimsuit, but have gone on to break boundaries, build empires and shape culture.

Target, a long-time supporter of the blonde’s signature style, will be the exclusive destination for Mattel’s Sports Illustrated Barbie Doll, beginning Feb. 10 available only on Target.com.

As we look forward to Barbie’s updated Hollywood swimsuit halter, we looked back in the Target Archives for some of her all-time most famous looks. These vintage Target ads are just doll-ing!

1971: The classic Malibu Barbie was the epitome of California cool, priced at just $1.97!

1974: For “casual dates with Barbie,” Ken was outfitted in typical 70s style——sideburns included.

1981: Western Barbie lassoed our hearts with her classic cowgirl fashions.

1986: Barbie and her band, The Rockers, were the ultimate 80s rock stars.

1990: Pool party! Barbie and her friends showed off their swimsuit style at one of Ken’s legendary parties.

1992: Pretty in Plaid Barbie and Dazzlin’ Date Barbie were some of the first limited edition Barbie dolls Mattel created exclusively for Target.

1996: Barbie dressed in her gymnastic leotard in honor of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

1997: Target gave a nod to the doll’s motivated history with a look back at her many careers.

1997: In the 90s everyone worked out with a cassette tape—even Barbie!

1998: Mattel and Target teamed up to bring Barbie to life at 828 stores across the country. The real-life Barbies signed autographs and posed with fans.

2000: Mattel welcomed the New Year with Millennium Princess Barbie.

2009: Barbie celebrates her 50th anniversary!

What’s your favorite Barbie? Let us know in the comments below!

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