Born fully formed in 1959, Mattel’s iconic Barbie stands, at 64 years old, in the prime of her life. Now, unlike others of us from that era, she appears a perpetually perky 33 years old but that’s another story. Unfair!
Either way, Barbie’s seen a lot in those 64 years. She’s seen trends come and go. She’s been there from poodle skirts to the Summer of Love’s flower power. She’s gone back to the land with the more earthy hippies of the 1970s, and embraced the preppie revival of the 1980s. She’s been there and done that on Grunge, beach vans, and every career known to female-kind — including interior designer Barbie.
And right now, that’s the only Barbie I care about. Because with Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie sweeping the cinemas and delighting generations of Barbie fans, I want to make sure you’ve got the goods to decorate in Barbie style. And if you’re a maker getting ready for the holiday season either for gifts or for pop ups and other trade events, you’ll want to be, as Valley Girl Barbie might say, “Barbie stocked for sure!”
When designing, making, or decorating while channelling Barbie, remember, “You’re braver than you think!” And that bravery is colored pink!
Up With Pink
The philosophical and design thread running through all Barbie decor seems deceptively simple — is it pink? But you know the soul of Barbie and you know that pink is actually not enough. The real question is, “Is it pink and does it have pizazz?” That’s P squared in Barbie lingo or (B to the P2).
Barbie is bold. Barbie is optimistic. And Barbie is fun. So when she decorates you can be sure her every choice is driven by the view that, “It is the best day ever. So was yesterday, and so is tomorrow, and every day from now until forever.” That means fun with unique, daring, pink!
So, let’s get making with a round up of perky pink pleasures in my vintage fabric world that will rock your pillows, kill those curtains, nail that lampshade, and whip up the best totes and bags this side of Barbie’s Dream House. (Oh, and some of these fabrics can be used for clothing or quilting, too. But keep in mind as vintage pieces we have limited sizes and when it’s gone it’s rare to find the same piece again. It happens, but it’s rare!)
And if you don’t like the ideas below, Barbie agrees that, “Either you’re brainwashed or you’re weird.”
Grandmillennial & Coastal Grandmother Barbie
This 21st century Colonial Williamsburg piece titled “Toile Oriental” in Barbie pink also fits the bill perfectly. It’s an 18th century reproduction from extant pieces reimagined in 21st century color. Only it’s out of print now…we have one piece left.
Grandmillennial Barbie will also love these pieces:
A 1996 piece titled “Coriander” that features pink and brown in a classic Indienne pattern. It’s as if Barbie was laying on a chaise all day reading Pride and Prejudice.
Barbie goes subtle with this 1994 Stroheim and Romann raw silk piece titled “Pinery.” With its luminescence and a tiny touch of pink to the pineapples and oversized leaves this is a grandmillennial Barbie’s dream trip to Colonial Williamsburg with fabric brought home to decorate! Imagine the hint-of-bling drapes made from this!
Coastal Grandmother Barbie will love the fresh clean lines of our micro flame stitch upholstery fabric in bright Barbie pink:
She’ll also love decorating her grandchild’s bedroom with this 1971 Greeff piece titled “Sun, Sky, and Butterflies.” With its buoyant pinks and happy outlook, it offers perfect guest room touches for Skipper and friends!
Flower Power Barbie
Girl Next Door Barbie
Going even more retro, there’s a bit of the Sandra Dee in Barbie. Wholesome, happy, easy going. This Barbie just loves a feminine floral with all the frills:
When she zigs then she zags, Barbie’s not so predictable. That why she puts on her beret and heads to the Go Go club to listen to The Velvet Underground. There her digs are tricked out in pink ‘tude like these Mid-Century Modern pieces:
The Many Moods of Barbie
Barbie can get moody, wig out for some Tiki, and fall into a romantic Shabby Chic mood in her flower-strewn bed. She gets tailored in silk stripes, traditional in buffalo checks, and channels the 1950s with sunny pink-popping barkcloth curtains.
Whatever she does, designer Barbie does it with imagination, inimitable feminine style, and pink plus pizazz — (B to the P2).
We hope this little foray into Barbie’s vintage finds will help you to make a design statement at home, whip up gifts for your Barbie-loving friends, or get you ready for the pink-a-palooza of the coming holiday season and shoppers with one thing on their minds — PINK!
Because, “Barbie is all these women. And all these women are Barbie.”
— Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia Vintage Fabrics