In China she is know as “Ba Bi Wa Wa” but you know the original plastic fantastic as Barbie. Sadly her first and stand alone store has closed it’s pink doors after only 2 years. The 37,000 sq ft Barbie home store failed at capturing the imagination not just of young girls, but of Chinese women of all ages with over 1,600 products for sale. For teens and young gals the store offered a catwalk on which they can model Barbie-esque clothes and a troupe of assistants to teach them how to sing and dance to the “Barbie Girl” song. There was even a Pink Tunnel, a neon-lit escalator which hums with the pre-recorded sound of giggling girls. For older women, Mattel has commissioned Vera Wang, the New York-based fashion designer, to come up with a £10,000 wedding dress. A line of clothing will also be on offer from Patricia Fields, the designer behind Sex and the City. The store had a café with food designed by local celebrity chef David Laris, who admits that it was an “unlikely” partnership, as well as “The Pink Room”, a bar complete with karaoke, a DJ and pink martinis. Visitors also had use of a day spa with makeup and cosmetics, a hair salon & manicure station, and the possibility of shopping for accessories and clothes modelled on Barbie’s fashion tastes. With the £25 price tag of the Shanghai Barbie doll, an exclusive model that was only available in the new store, the cost of the doll is an entire week’s salary for a factory worker so perhaps this was just a pink fluffy dream for most and only a reality for the hard core Barbie fan. I am so sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to visit this palace of unashamedly girly crazyness but perhaps one day…. Humming to myself Aqua’s 90’s classic tune I’m A Barbie Girl.
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