Meet the Minnesota Woman Who Made Barbie’s Best Looks
The highly anticipated Barbie movie comes out this weekend and because of the increased talk about Barbie, I discovered something really cool. The woman behind many of Barbie's most iconic looks actually grew up in Minnesota.
Her name is Carol Spencer. She was born in Texas but moved to Minneapolis when she was little. She grew up in her aunt, uncle, and grandma's house, according to Mpls St. Paul Magazine, where she loved watching her grandma sew.
Eventually, Carol learned how to sew from her grandma and that's where it all began.
Carol Spencer: The Minnesota Woman Behind Barbie's Wardrobe
She graduated from high school in 1950 and knew she didn't want to do what all of the other women were typically doing for work at the time. Then she found out about the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, which is now called MCAD.
Carol got her degree from the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and started an internship in New York with the popular magazine, Mademoiselle. Later she worked in the apparel industry for many companies in the Twin Cities area and Milwaukee until she found out about a job in LA with Mattel.
Mattel had just released the Barbie and they were looking for a designer. Carol applied, but didn't hear back, so do you know what she did? Packed her bags and went to LA anyway. She applied again and this time they wanted to talk to her. She was given a Barbie and 2 weeks to design garments and patterns. Mattel was impressed with Carol's designs and she was hired in 1963!
Barbie's Iconic Looks Designed by Carol Spencer
Carol designed Barbie's wardrobe for 35 years. Her first design to be added was in 1964 when the Crisp and Cool doll inspired by Jackie Kennedy was released. That outfit was designed by Carol.
She also is responsible for the blue spandex leotard with rainbow leg warmers. Yep, that outfit appeared on Barbie in Toy Story 3.
Also, the Totally Hair Barbie that was released in 1992, that mini dress was designed by Carol. That doll is currently Mattel's best-selling Barbie.
Carol retired in 1998 and in honor of her retirement and her 35-year anniversary, they created a Carol Spencer Barbie.