By Allen Voivod
For two decades, the Barbie® Fashion Model Collection reinterpreted classic fashions with a contemporary twist. To date, the line includes more than 140 remarkable Silkstone® dolls! In this exclusive interview, designer Robert Best talks about the end of a haute couture era with the coming launch of the 2020 BFMC®.
2020 will mark the final year for the Barbie® Fashion Model Collection (for now, at least). Can you tell us why 2020 is the right time to pause its historic run?
I like even numbers and it also just felt like the right time. This has truly always been a labor of love from where I sit, and I would never have it any other way. I think the collection has covered a lot of ground and after 20 years. It’s a good time to take stock, step back, and see what the future holds.
What have been some of your favorite dolls in the collection?
This is a tough one, there are too many favorites. I’ve always loved Delphine Barbie as she was the first glamour gown from 2000. In the Pink Barbie was fabulous for how extra it was. Marie Therese Barbie, of course – she was modelled after my sister and I love a bride. Midnight Mischief remains one of my favorite fashions. Dahlia Barbie is just a beautiful doll with amazing details. I love the entire "Career" series, and the "Hollywood" series. Preferably Pink Barbie is a stand-out for all the details and the remarkable jewelry. The Mad Men collection was an incredible partnership. The entire “Atelier” series. It's very challenging to look back at 20 years of work and narrow down to a few dolls. I truly have loved every collection.
Barbie™ fans have a deep appreciation for this collection. Can you share some highlights from the feedback they’ve given you over the years?
When it first launched there was palpable excitement and buzz. Collectors candidly shared that the Barbie Fashion Model Collection had reignited their love of the hobby. Others told me this was the collection that turned them on to collecting.
People have always shared incredibly positive feedback and stories about their passion for Barbie, and in particular about this collection from the very beginning. So many people shared that it was their favorite collection or that it had a special place in their collection.
How did you approach the creation of the 2020 BFMC® dolls? What did you do differently (if anything) this time around? And was it more emotional for you in any particular way?
I approached the collection for 2020 as a bit of a return to form. I wanted all the best aspects of how I had originally conceived of the collection, with something for everyone, featuring multiple dolls with lots of great details and a range in styles while remaining classic.
Every collection borrows aspects from the ones before while evolving and moving the needle in some way. I’m personally very happy with where we landed for the final year and it definitely feels as though we are ending it on a high!
Of course, it's very emotional, and I am a person who typically doesn’t like change – but in this case I feel like it’s a completion and in a good way. Things change and evolve, that's a part of the natural progression of life and I’m okay with that.
What can you tell us about the future of haute couture Barbie® dolls, and what’s next for you and fashion design muse?
There are so many exciting things on the horizon for Barbie, new projects, new talent and new ideas. I cannot share any more specifics than to say, “Watch this space…”
Barbie will always be reinventing. I'm very energized and inspired about the future. I appreciate the love and attachment collectors have shared with BFMC and me as an extension. I know for sure there will be new collections and dolls that continue to excite and engage the collector community.