Pink isn’t just for Wednesdays, à la Mean Girls, but for all year round—if you’re a Barbie fanatic, that is. More than a thousand collectors, enthusiasts, and doll-industry professionals descended on the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in DC’s Woodley Park this past weekend for the National Barbie Convention, which this year marked the doll’s 50th anniversary.
This annual convention, held in a different city each year, took on special meaning for Barbie’s half-century birthday. In addition to a full-scale runway show at New York fashion week, featuring designs by names such as Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, and Philip Lim, Mattel partnered with designer Jonathan Adler earlier this year to launch a full-scale Barbie dream house in Malibu.
The convention featured life-size memorabilia from both events, including hot-pink custom Louboutins, a life-size Barbie doll in the “Generations of Dreams” dress, designed by a Project Runway contestant, a white-and-black diamond Barbie valued at $48,000, and a life-size pink-and-white crystal-studded bike as well as a hot-pink Volkswagen convertible, with a Swarovski crystal interior by West Coast Customs.
Watch a video of convention attendees below
Some Barbie fun facts:
Did you know?
• Barbie was created by Ruth Handler, who was inspired by her daughter Barbara’s fascination with teenage life and love of paper dolls. The doll was unveiled to the public on March 9, 1959, at the New York Toy Fair as “Barbie® the Teen-Age Fashion Model.”
• Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, and she hails from Willows, Wisconsin.
• The best-selling Barbie of all time was 1992’s “Totally Hair” Barbie, who had hair down to her toes.
• Barbie has been outfitted by more than 70 famous designers and 146 fashion designers.
• 15 fine artists work on each doll.
• For several decades, Barbie lacked a belly button.
• Barbie has had more than 100 careers, including American Airlines Flight Attendant (1961), Professional WNBA Basketball Player (1998), and American Idol Winner (2005).
• Barbie has a host of friends, including on/off boyfriend Ken, Midge (best friend), Skipper/Tutti/Stacie/Kelly/Krissy (sisters), Todd (brother), MOD Francie/Jazzie (cousins). She also has gal pals Christie, Theresa, Kira, Kayla, and Becky.
• In 2004, Barbie created national headlines by breaking up with Ken after 43 years. Supposedly, he wants her back.
• The first Barbie cost only $3. (Psst, the second Barbie ever made is at the convention, too—see if you can spot her!)
• 300,000 Barbies were sold in the first year.
• Barbie dolls represent more than 50 different nationalities.
• The most expensive Barbie sold to date went at auction for $27,450.