As Barbie celebrates her 60th birthday on Saturday, her longest-running clothing designer has defended the iconic doll’s thin body against criticism of promoting unrealistic body image.
Carol Spencer designed thousands of Barbie’s outfits at Mattel from 1963 to 1998. The 86-year-old told People magazine she thinks critique of Barbie’s shape is unwarranted.
“Times are changing and we’re all evolving,” she told the outlet. “But I don’t think she was out of proportion — people don’t understand doll scale. And she’s a doll! Part of Barbie will always be fantasy.”
Spencer is releasing a book, “Dressing Barbie,” about her 35 years designing for the doll.
In 2016, after Spencer had been retired for 20 years, Mattel released more inclusive body types and tones for Barbie. The doll now has seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and three new body types: tall, petite, curvy.
“The new Barbies are lovely,” Spencer said. “We kept making Barbie more realistic.”
In her book, Spencer talks about her career as a fashion designer, which led her to win the 2017 Women in Toys Emeritus Award, People reported.
During her time there, she created iconic looks for the doll, including Jackie Kennedy-inspired Crisp N’ Cool ensemble in 1963 and the look that would go on to appear in the “Toy Story” movies: the ‘80s Great Shape Barbie with blue leggings.
She also designed the best-selling ensemble of all time in 1992, the 25th-anniversary doll: Totally Hair Barbie.
Ultimately, working as Barbie’s clothing designer changed her life, she told People.
“I really loved what I was doing,” she said. “I loved what I was doing. It was my home.”