When I heard that Barbie was coming to town for a very special exhibit at Mudec I was not really impressed: I thought it was something for kids and I didn’t feel particularly interested in the event. After a couple of weeks I started getting feedbacks from friends and colleagues who went to the event and totally enjoyed it. They then used the magic world that convinced me immediately: there are a lot of “vintage Barbies”…
That’s when I decided to go and have a look before it ended in mid-March.
I was completely stunned by the event and, even if there were a lot of kids, I realized that I felt like a kid myself because in the middle of the vintage Barbies, of the iconic rare dolls and of the multicultural Barbies, there were pieces of my past exposed there: my old dolls from when I was a child, my Barbie’s car, swimming pool and house! I felt so emotional that I wanted to cry! And it wasn’t just me as I could hear many of my peers visiting the exhibit saying to their kids: “Look! Mummy had that Barbie car!” or “Aww this was auntie’s favorite Barbie many years ago!”.
That’s when I became aware of some facts relating to Barbie: first of all, it is not just a doll. In 56 years she “has interpreted the aesthetic and cultural transformations of society for more than half a century; but – unlike the other myths of contemporaneity, worn out by the passing of time – this doll has had the privilege of being timeless and has crossed distant eras and lands, representing some 50 different nationalities, and bolstering her identity as a mirror for the global imagination” (from Mudec presentation of the event).
The exhibit tells this story in many different ways, presenting the chronological order of dolls (I was totally amazed by the ones from the late 50’s of course!) from the end of the 50’s to nowadays. But there is more than that: the dolls are presented by designers dressing the doll, by fashion trends, by nationality (I loved Asian and African Barbies) or even by job. A huge part is also dedicated to the celebrities who gave their image to Barbie: from Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe to Carmen Miranda, just to name a few.
The exhibit will be now in Rome until the end of October, in case you want to try the experience!