The story of the woman who designed Barbie clothes for years

  • By:karen-millen



Carol Spencer , an 86-year-old woman, is the one behind the iconic and popular clothing designs for Barbie , the doll that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. In honor of the popular doll, the designer created the book Dressing Barbie, which talks about the creative process and the best moments working with Mattel.

If Barbie has something, it is that she is always dressed in fashion, no matter what year or season it is, she has the looks that all girls –and women– would like to have. This is thanks to Carol Spencer , who worked with Mattel for over 35 years designing and drawing inspiration from real women.


"If she was looking for inspiration she could go window shopping in Beverly Hills, walk through the stores, see what people were wearing," she said. “I even got inspiration from my own closet!” Carol explained in an interview with People.

Throughout her career, the designer has created countless outfits for the doll, so many that she has a display case where she displays them at her Los Angeles home. “ I have lost count of all the ones I have, but there are many”, she added.

Since she had to choose her career, she opted for something unconventional for the time: fashion designer, because she was not interested in being a nurse, teacher or secretary, what she was looking for was to exploit her creativity. "I collected money to buy fabric and started making my own clothes," she wrote in the book Dressing Barbie.

Spencer worked for various fashion houses until she finally came to Mattel, four years after the doll was released. She is the person behind the doll's most iconic outfits, like Jackie Kennedy 's. Even back in the 80s, Carol designed the iconic blue aerobics outfit, complete with colorful leg warmers, the same one featured in the Toy Story movies. Without a doubt, the 86-year-old woman assures that it was one of the best moments of her career.

In 1998 she decided to retire from costume design for Mattel, after working for them for 35 years.

The story of the woman who designed Barbie clothes for years
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