barbie, jackie shapiro, style guide

Did I tell you I designed the fashion direction for Mattel’s Barbie brand style guides for years?

November 17, 2016

As President of 'Girls' at the time, Adrienne Fontanella was the visionary behind Mattel's Barbie brand. She awarded famous Pushpin Studios the fabulous job to design Mattel's Barbie Style Guides in the late 90's through the mid-80's. The Barbie brand had over 500 licensees worldwide ranging in categories that spanned health and beauty, food, and apparel to name only a few. Graphic designer DK Holland writer and educator then at Pushpin, brought me on board to develop the trends for every fashion theme for each delivery. The guides consisted of five fashion themes that covered a 6 month delivery period. The guides were produced twice a year for both the Mass and Specialty channels. Fall / Winter and Spring / summer.  In other words there needed to be 20 fashion collections per year that could be applied to everything from spaghettios, bandaids, electronics, stationery, PJs, hair accessories, outerwear, hosiery, to apparel per year.

The themes were to be translated by all licensees. I conceptualized each theme visually and described the story in words. The content we would deliver for each delivery included the color palette, patterns, icons, graphics, fashion silhouettes, fabrics, materials, details, and words. This was all meant to inspire licensees and assure a unified brand presence. I did this for 8 years while also designing my pattern collection represented by Splash print studios. We made a  poster for every guide so you could see all themes for the season at a glance.

 The Barbie team at Pushpin studio.


mood board


Barbie's 40'th birthday bash at the Waldorf Astoria. Seymour Chwast on the left, me in the middle with Cynthia Rapp on the right.

Photo at Mattel's very own ATM