Barbie-mania is coming to Design Museum with a huge new exhibition next year

This whole summer, London has been infected with a serious case of Barbie-itis. Symptoms: idolising Greta Gerwig, falling for pink glittery eyeshadow, and claiming against all contrary evidence that your job is ‘just beach’. You might assume that the cooler weather would bring the return of relative normality but no such luck. 

A new exhibition has been announced by London’s Design Museum, one that’s only going to fuel the fiery pink flames of Barbie fans’ collective ardour. The museum has been granted special access to the official Barbie archives in California (where else) and has dug out all kinds of pastel-hued treasures that tell the story of the famous doll over her 65 year history.

This being the Design Museum, you’re going to get way more than a bunch of toys in a room, though. The museum says it will explore the story of Barbie through a design lens, including fashion, architecture, furniture and vehicle design’: so let’s cross fingers for life-size Mojo Dojo Casa Houses or snazzy pink motors on display. 

Although this Barbie exhibition is arriving on the scene with immaculate timing, it’s actually been three years in the planning, and was scheduled long before the movie came out. It will open on July 5, 2024, and run throughout the summer, ready to delight tourists and visitors to London alike.

It’ll have a big story to tell, exploring how Barbie was inspired by a German doll called Lilli that, with her overtly sexy proportions, was designed as a joke gift available to buy at tobacco stores and bars. But in the hands of female creator Ruth Handler, one of the founders of Mattel, she became the unlikely inspiration for Barbie, a doll designed to look like a grown woman instead of the baby dolls popular at the time.

Want to know the rest of the story? You’ll have to hang on until July for the exhibition that will hopefully cure your Barbie-mania, once and for all. 

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