Over the summer and fall this year, our favorite blonde bombshell, Barbie had her very own lavish exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Palais. “Beauty is also about diversity,” says Anne Monier, curator of the museum’s toy department. “Today you cannot give a child one doll and say, This is a beautiful doll. You need to show the child different models of beauty so they can pick the one that they want to identify with…She is the embodiment of every change of society…you can see that between 1959 and today Barbie has evolved a lot.”
Barbie was created by Ruth Handler in 1959. She’d noticed that young girls had only baby dolls to play with, “Handler realized that little girls wanted to picture themselves as adults,” Monier says.
The Barbie Fashionistas® line has added three new body types – tall, curvy and petite – and a variety of skin tones, hair styles and outfits.
“For more than 55 years, Barbie has been a global, cultural icon and a source of inspiration and imagination to millions of girls around the world,” said Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mattel. “Barbie reflects the world girls see around them. Her ability to evolve and grow with the times, while staying true to her spirit, is central to why Barbie is the number one fashion doll in the world.”
The new 2016 Barbie® Fashionistas® doll line includes four body types (the original and three new bodies), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and countless on-trend fashions and accessories. Adding more diversity into the line continues the journey that Barbie started in 2015 when the brand added 23 dolls with new skin tones, hair colors and, most notably, a flat foot.
“Barbie has always given girls choices – from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, Senior Vice President and Global General Manager Barbie. “We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand – these new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them – the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.”
The Robe Volante
The Robe Volante also known as Robe Battante, Adrienne, contouche, innocente, flying dress and, in a shorter version, casaque, became popular in the 1720’s, and started a fashion revolution, in some ways marking the beginning of modern fashion.
In court of Louis IVX, being magnificent was required. Of course, this meant stylish women did a lot of standing around — all the bindings, corsets and cages made it too hard to sit. By the end of the 17th century, the formality began to wear thin and the magnificence became a burden. Woman had had it, and just wanted to be comfortable.
Enter robe volante, full length and designed for comfort, in fancy fabrics or simple cottons. On a social level, almost anyone could pull it off. The first to make this statement were young women of the court, merchants and dressmakers. In terms of fashion equality, the volante, was worn by the rich, as well as the merchant class.
In Paris, a Robe Volante has sold for more than $150,000 by Palais Galliera, a fashion museum in Paris. The 1730s dress is in mint condition, it might have been worn at Versailles.
The robe volante marks a moment of freedom for woman. No longer a prisoner to the cage and corset, this dress, with beautiful, free flowing fabric, woman could finally move and breathe—and they could sit and lounge, and even cross their legs. In some cases, even show the leg. This bit of exposure also helped to change art, as French painters began to focus on ankles and shins. According to historian Joan de Jean, author of The Age of Comfort, artists began showing the leg as “an object of desire.”
The robe volante — or flying dress is loose-cut, with soft pleats in the rear, a deep V in front and graceful flow-y sleeves. The neckline always seem to be V-shaped. Despite being so loose, stays were generally worn underneath.