From humble beginnings as an idea that made up for a lack of adult bodied dolls in the toy market, Barbie has become a fashion and lifestyle icon for both girls and women alike through the years. Though if you haven't kept track of time during all these years you probably don't know that the gorgeous blonde just turned 50 years old this year! In celebration of her golden anniversary, Mattel Inc. opened Barbie's first global flagship store in Shanghai, China on March 6th, 2009.
The 35,000 square foot store features six floors of interactive displays and activities that realize Barbie's roots in fashion and her special ability to inspire girls to approach the world without limits. While inside, females of all ages will revel the world's largest collection of barbie dolls and lifestyle products, makeup counters, and a pampering spa. But exclusive to the store is the Barbie Design Centre, an interactive environment that gives customers a unique chance to customize their own Barbie dolls, and the Barbie Fashion Runway which lets young girls walk in their favourite Barbie fashions.
According to Hayes Slade of Slade Architecture, BIG ad agency and Mattel "...decided that design should be a central component of the store." The focus of the design concept was to bring out the girl in women of all ages, and so the immediate impact of its entrance is that of the fun and luxury of fashion influenced by white, curving walls and a sensational chandelier above. As customers progress up to the fifth floor flower cutouts on the walls gradually increase in size from six inches to several feet high, in effect allowing young girls to feel they've become "doll-sized" on their way up.
The massive scale, design, and innovation of the global flagship store certainly is a contemporary interpretation of the Barbie brand. Already a hit and only the first establishment in the global market, the direction of future Barbie stores is imaginably limitless into the future....So while she may be getting old, her future remains young.
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