Plastic Fantastic: Barbie and Kartell Rock Milan

kartel barbie windows


The world’s favorite plastic party girl and the furniture industry’s favorite plastic purveyor have teamed up in a brilliant collaboration to celebrate their respective birthdays at the big furniture fair in Milan.

barbie and ken

Barbie, that high-stepping pony-tailed cougar, who turned 50 earlier this year has settled into a Dream House in Milan, furnished with a Bourgie lamp, a Charles Ghost stool, and Louis Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck, all by the Italian furniture manufacturer Kartell, which turns 60 this year.

The windows of Kartell’s flagship store have been transformed for the occasion, into six room settings, each animated by a life size Barbie (occasionally accompanied by a handsome escort), decked out in vintage Moschino. Kartell is even issuing two Barbie style chairs, the Louis Ghost and the smaller Lou Lou Ghost, embellished with the Malibu charmer’s distinctive profile.

mini versions

The company is also producing some mini versions of the classic design pieces, which it will package up in boxes inspired by collectible Barbies. They’ll be sold off at a charity auction to benefit Save the Children later this year.

But, wait! There’s more! Why stop at furnishing your dream house like Barbie? Why not step out in her shoes? Kartell also teamed with shoe company .normaluisa to create a limited edition of pink and white plastic ballerina flats (sadly, for sale only at the Via Turati flagship store.)

plastic flats

The connection between the two brands was, at first, mystifying to Barbie’s handlers. “At first I didn’t see the genius behind the connection with Kartell,” confessed Richard Dickston, svp, Barbie. Then “I remembered Andy Warhol’s famous quote, ‘I love Plastic. I want to be Plastic,’…and I saw the subtle connection between our brands.”

For more Barbie, check out our 50th anniversary slide show tribute.

Visit our Design Channel for more coverage of Milan 2009.