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A New Must-Have for Fastionista Barbie Collectors with ‘Coach Barbie’

by Rebekah Kaufman (08/13/13).

Mattel and Coach have unveiled “Coach Barbie,” a version of iconic Barbie Roberts doll dressed head to toe in a genuine Coach outfit, including the Classic Trench in Tattersall, an exact replica of the popular Coach style, along with a striped sweater and an ultrasuede skirt. For Barbie doll loving fashionitas, it really does not get any better than this!

If you love Barbie and Coach leather accessories, this may be the doll collecting highlight of 2013! It has just been announced that Mattel and Coach have unveiled “Coach Barbie,” a version of iconic Barbie Roberts doll dressed head to toe in a genuine Coach outfit. For Barbie doll loving fashionitas, it really does not get any better than this!

Every element of Barbie’s ensemble is based on an original and beloved Coach pattern—of course, scaled down to 1/6th size to accommodate Barbie’s 11.5-inch-tall frame. The set includes the doll, her clothing and her fine leather accessories.

Coach Barbie wears a sweater and skirt, designed by Bonnie Cashin, who worked for Coach from 1962 through 1974. The skirt features Cashin’s signature metal Coach turnlocks—which, according to the designer, were inspired by the rooftop locking system on a convertible. Cashin is considered to be one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful American fashion designers of the 20th century. Barbie also sports the company’s well-branded Tattersall trench, color blocked “Tristen” leather sandals, and large, round “Patty” red sunglasses.

And the piece de resistance? A classic red leather duffle bag, complete with a miniature protective dust bag, tiny tassel, and Coach tag.

Coach Barbie retails for $95 and will be available mid-August online, as well as specialty Coach and Mattel stores worldwide.

It is no surprise that this project is the talk of the Barbie and Coach worlds. Since the very beginning, Barbie has always mirrored trends in lifestyle and popular culture—and Coach is certainly one of today’s “it” brands for people who follow fashion trends.

Over time, Barbie has acted as a creative inspiration to more than 150 famous designers and has participated in actual fashion collaborations with more than 75 fashion houses, including Calvin Klein, Cartier, Gucci, Galliano, Versace and Vera Wang.

According to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, “Barbie represents a confident and independent woman with an amazing ability to have fun while remaining glamorous.”

“As a little girl, I spent countless hours playing with my Barbie dolls, even designing and sewing one-of-a-kind outfits for the doll,” said Cynthia Rowley, another well-known American designer. “I guess you could say Barbie gave me my start as a designer.” 

This red Classic Duffle that marks a fashion milestone: it is Barbie’s first genuine leather bag.

Barbie also sports color blocked “Tristen” leather sandals.

To round out the look, she is wearing large, round “Patty” red sunglasses.

Barbie debuted in 1959 as “The Teenage Fashion Model” and, according to Mattel, “allowed girls to experience fashion play and to explore various dreams, fantasies and aspirations without ever leaving home.”

Mattel sales records show that more than a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in more than 150 countries, and that three Barbie dolls are sold every second. Today, Mattel archivists estimate that there are more than 100,000 Barbie collectors, with about 90 percent of those collectors being women about 40 years old. Company statistics also show that the “average” Barbie collector purchases at least 20 Barbie dolls per year.

Like most post-war collectibles, in general, the earliest models in pristine condition attract the most interest with collectors and at auction. In terms of record hammer prices, a Barbie in a black strapless evening gown, pink peep-toe stiletto heels and pink diamond necklace brought $302,500 at an auction benefitting breast cancer research in 2010.


Rebekah Kaufman is a Worthologist who specializes in vintage Steiff and other European plush collectibles.

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