Fans flock to world’s largest Barbie exhibition

news: Fans flock to world’s largest Barbie exhibition

WORLD OF Barbie, the biggest exhibition in the world celebrating the famous blonde doll, opened at Fabrica do Inglês in Silves last Saturday, and at the opening time, there was already a long queue down the street. Children in pushchairs, teenagers, mothers and grandmas waited eagerly to enter, while a handful of males exchanged sympathetic nods and kept the peace.

The exhibition, which continues until September 4, tells the story of the Barbie doll, which was first launched by toy manufacturer Mattel back in March 1959. The brainchild of Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel – Barbie, a new type of dressed doll (wearing haute couture!) was unveiled in New York City.

More than a thousand dolls are on display at the show, representing all five decades in the history of Barbie – the doll which has become nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon, and cherished by generations of women. The exhibition features both rare and collector’s editions – some complete with all their accessories and even their original box.

Over the years, Barbie’s style has been influenced by fashion, music, cinema, politics and sport, and the doll constantly reflects the spirit of the times.In a display case dedicated to the 80s, one I particularly enjoyed, Barbie reflects the aerobics and tennis fever of the period as well as the glamorous style of the popular TV shows, Dallas and Dynasty.

No less than 60 careers are represented by Barbie, from nurse and primary teacher to paediatrician and presidential candidate – a real reflection of the evolution of women in the working arena!

For adults planning to visit this exhibition, prepare yourselves for a journey into the past, and a good couple of hours of reminiscing! You never know, you might even find the much loved Barbie from your childhood on display!

Boys, however, are not totally overlooked, as towards the end of the exhibition, there are some giant Lego models including a BMW sports car and a giant Coca-Cola lorry. There is also a play area for young children, featuring dolls and Lego.

Hot on the heels of its successful runs in Munich and Hamburg, World of Barbie hopes to repeat the response with fans in Portugal, and judging from the reaction on Saturday, that shouldn’t be too difficult…

The exhibition is open seven days a week from 6pm onwards and entrance prices are as follows: five euros for adults, 2.50 euros for children from five – 11 years-old, and under-fives go free.

One important piece of advice, dress lightly for this exhibition as unfortunately the marquee has no air conditioning and can be rather stuffy.

Caroline Cunha