"Barbie's body was never designed to be realistic."


Wed, Feb 5th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Fast Company, Mark Wilson has a chance to talk to Kim Culmone, vice president of design for Barbie, and together they discuss the doll's unrealistic body size. The response makes perfect sense from a toy-maker perspective:

Co.Design: What's your stance on Barbie's proportions?

Culmone: Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she’s had many bodies over the years, ones that are poseable, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic.

It’s primarily the 11.5-inch fashion doll size we change over time, depending on the needs of the product. There are some that her legs don’t even bend. There are some that her arms are straight. Primarily it’s for function for the little girl, for real life fabrics to be able to be turned and sewn, and have the outfit still fall properly on her body.

So to get the clean lines of fashion at Barbie’s scale, you have to use totally unrealistic proportions?

You do! Because if you’re going to take a fabric that’s made for us, and turn a seam for a cuff or on the body, her body has to be able to accommodate how the clothes will fit her.



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