When in 2000, Mattel debuted its Barbie Fashion Model Collection, conceptualized and designed by Robert Best, a new chapter in the Barbie doll history began. The Barbie Fashion Model Collection was a major coup for Mattel as it was referential of the 800 and 1600 lines designed by Charlotte Johnson and featured a beautifully sculpted, resin-like Silkstone body with Barbie's 1959 face sculpt. Barbie was again a luxurious doll sold in a slender box along with separate, richly-accessorized, boxed fashions.
The Barbie Fashion Model Collection is, to date, the most coherent expression of a designer's point of view, steadfastly anchored in a palette of browns and creams, pinks, blues, gold, silver, and black. With its conclusion in 2020, the line has become a period upon which to reference Barbie's ever-evolving style as current prices on the secondary market confirm.
Dolldom celebrates the achievements of this groundbreaking design epoch with the first installment of a portfolio of the line's highlights.
"Black Enchantment" from 2002 is worn by a Lingerie #6, restyled by Bobby Taylor.
"Classic Cocktail Dress" from 2016 is a total look victory from hair to make-up to dress.
"Provençale" from 2001 set the bar high. Iconic? Absolutely. It's the right modifier for it.
"Boater Ensemble" from 2013, is a tailoring tour de force. The little straw hat is an amazing piece of Barbie millinery.
"Blue Chiffon Gown" from 2017 was a glamorous vision in the line's signature hue.
"More is More"
"Classic Black Dress" Barbie dolls, from 2016, exemplify design expertise. Only one dress (on seated doll) was released as part of the line as all others were made for international conventions.Yes, there's Dovima's gown in the background and no, it's not by Mattel.
"It All Started at the Beach"
"Black and White Forever" from 2019 is a tribute to 1959's bathing suit color scheme.
"Glam Gown", from 2016, is a platinum silver hair, brown-eyed stunner.
"A Lesson in Timeless Style"
"Blush Becomes Her" boxed fashion set as worn by a Lingerie #1 doll is a combo made in fashion heaven.
"Gala Gown", from 2012, is an amazing achievement in doll couture. Exquisite realization of an exquisite concept. The factory got it all right. Even the hair. Bravi, tutti!
"Proudly Pink", from 2019, is a chic play of Barbie
doll's signature color.
"This Suit Is Made for Walking"
"Walking Suit", from 2012, is another design and manufacture tour de force. And Barbie's make-up is fierce perfection.
"Boulevard" from 2001 set the golden standard for boxed fashion sets: suit, coat, hat, shoes, hose, jewelry, purse. A level of detail that today seems mythical. It is modeled by a Wonderbilly repainted "Sunday Best" Barbie.
"Le Rouge to End All Rouges"
"Ravishing in Rouge" from 2001was an FAO Schwarz exclusive. Those were the days, my friends. We thought they'd never end...
"Luncheon Ensemble" from 2013 featured a flowered turban. "Fashion Designer" from 2001, another FAO Schwarz exclusive, did not, but thanks to LizRetros, Barbie rocks it in these photos.
"Fashion Designer" was an FAO Exclusive from 2001 that lovingly played tribute to Edith Head.
"Midnight Mischief" was another fabulous boxed fashion set from 2002. Modeled by a restyled Number 3 Lingerie, it's a testament to quality - from fabric selection to factory execution.
"Platinum in Black"
Reminiscent of the classic combination of a 1964 platinum blonde Swirl Barbie in "Black Magic", "Cocktail Dress" was instantly iconic.
2000's "Lunch at the Club" is part of the historic introduction of The Barbie Fashion Model Collection. This very first suit fashion set was cut slim and fitted and was accessorized to the hilt - even a bouquet of roses.
"Everyone's a Fashion Editor"
The referential tone of the line extended beyond the legacy of Charlotte Johnson to include details - such as the large round black framed glasses of FAO Schwarz exclusive "Fashion Editor" - a nod to the iconic Carrie Donovan. Here The Editor approves of 2009's "Parisienne Pretty" bubble dress as modeled by 2016's "City Chic Suit" Barbie doll, restyled by Bobby Taylor.
"Principessa" from 2018, worn by a Lingerie Number 2, is the ultimate wedding ensemble for it makes the very chic decision of not doing another long wedding gown.
"Afternoon Suit" from 2011 was a BFC exclusive - membership had its privileges, right? - and a sensational take on Dior's New Look. And 1965's American Girl Barbie's hairstyle.
2007's "Haute Monde, another BFC exclusive, is a gorgeous redhead in another triumphant interpretation of the little black dress. Though there is nothing little about this one - it's utterly gorgeous and very much a grand gesture.
2016's "Camel Coat" illustrates how Best kept Barbie wearing real clothing that is beautifully was fad-free and functional.
"Empire of Pink"
2016's "US Convention" is a title that does not convey the beauty of this empire-waisted gown inspired by late 1960s party couture.