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‘Barbie – The Icon’ exhibition documents the world-famous icon from her debut in 1959 to the present day. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

More than 400 Barbies now call the National Museum of Finland home, and they have brought their whole wardrobe. Barbie — The Icon has come as a visiting exhibition to the museum from April 27th until August 26th and offers something for all ages.

Throughout eight thematic sections, Barbie’s evolution can be viewed over the past 59 years. From her start as a teenage fashion model invented by Ruth Handler, to historical figures such as Cleopatra, and to what we know today as Barbie she is more than a doll, she is a fashion icon.

Professor Massimiliano Capella, the curator of ‘Barbie – The Icon’ exhibition at the National Museum of Finland on April 26, 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Donning runway-ready outfits made by Oscar de la Renta, Bob Mackie, and Karl Lagerfeld among others, Barbie chronicles history through fashion. The exhibition’s curator, Massimiliano Capella believes that Barbie provides a different interpretation of herself along with Western society.

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“She has not invented trends or fashion styles, but she has interpreted them at their best and so she has been transformed into an icon by the most important fashion designers in the contemporary,” he said.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Barbie also brought her extended family, friends, and a few animals along to the exhibition. Her three sisters Skipper, Stacie, and Chelsea along with Ken and many others can be seen in the section detailing the evolution of Barbie’s dream home.

While Barbie is known as a children’s doll, this exhibit is fit for all ages. For those who grew up playing with Barbie and those who still do, the National Museum provides a look at Western society in not only an educational way, but also a fun one.

Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“I think that Barbie is not only an instrument to play with, to joke, but also an instrument to understand and to teach something about our society,” Massimiliano Capella said.

Through her unique point of view, Barbie tells the story of the evolution of fashion and culture. In collaboration with 24 ORE Cultura and Mattel, the exhibition has visited Milan, Rome, Bologna, and Madrid.

With 436 dolls the timeless and diverse life of Barbie now brings the icon to Helsinki.

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