I surely remember the summer of 2008, when Vogue Italia‘s first Black Issue was released, starring models like Iman, Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez and Jourdan Dunn. The issue that had the intention of sending a message to the fashion world about the importance of diversity in fashion. But, somehow I missed it last June when the same Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia published a supplemental issue to the magazine, featuring all-Black Barbie dolls.
According to UK Vogue,the first black doll from Barbie was introduced in 1967, as a friend of Barbie called Francie (who had darker skin, but was fashioned from the same head mold as white Barbie), followed by the first “Black Barbie” doll, introduced in 1980. The trend continues this autumn with the launch of a collection of black Barbie dolls, called the So In Style dolls, which are supposed to more accurately depict Black women and girls (criticism S.I.S dolls, here).
When I was a kid I used to photograph my Barbie dolls “poolside” at our bathroom sink, or candidly for prom as they leaned against a chair leg, or imagine them road-tripping west as they drove down our sun-hot driveway in their pink Ferrari. And now I find Barbies, not unlike the ones I played with 13-yrs ago, posed as models in an issue of Italian Vogue: