We're used to hearing "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week" instead of just "Fashion Week." Blatant advertising, yes, but tacking the name of a luxury car on there never bothered us too much. By this point, it practically rolls off the tongue. But what about "Mercedes-Benz Mattel Fashion Week" or just "Mattel Fashion Week"? Mattel, as in the maker of Barbies. Taxonomy-fearing readers, it could be on the horizon. For come February, Mattel's three-year partnership with the CFDA begins, including sponsorship of New York Fashion Week. Mattel is the first toy company to partner with the CFDA. Fashion Week master of ceremonies Fern Mallis justifies it thusly:
“For many young girls, [Barbie is] their first association with fashion and dressing up and changing clothes,” she said.
But there's more. Mattel plans to put on a life-size Barbie fashion show with outfits by 50 designers at Fashion Week. In exchange for the fat wad of cash from the company, the CFDA is helping them find fashion designers from among its 350 members to contribute designs. Now, high fashion and Barbie have tangoed before, and even Zac Posen designed a dress for the doll. But this is perhaps Barbie's biggest life-size high-fashion foray in this country. First, we hate to say it, but we can easily see Christian Siriano signing on to participate in the runway show. Second, we're scared. Because a Barbie clothing line is likely on the horizon and then stores for that Barbie clothing line. They already have them in Asia. Five-year-old label Barbie Couture offers $230 dresses and $500 suits at more than 25 stores over there. Plus Mattel plans to launch a makeup line with skin-care treatments called "Plastic Smooth." Is this what women want to look like these days? As though they were made in a factory? Oh, what the age of plastic surgery hath wrought! Thank God no one can afford it right now.