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Barbies everywhere

by Cristina Sanza February 16, 2016
Barbies everywhere

The Barbie Expo in Montreal is the largest in the world

Barbie’s in town, but she’s not just here to play. The Barbie Expo, the largest permanent haute-couture Barbie exhibition in the world, is here to showcase the diversity of Barbie, and it’s located right in the heart of Downtown Montreal.

Over a 1000 dolls are displayed at the exhibit. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

Over a 1000 dolls are displayed at the exhibit. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

The expo, which opened on Feb. 11 in Les Cours Mont-Royal, features over 1,000 unique dolls, each wearing distinct, limited-edition outfits. The space is 5,000 square feet, very bright, spacious and decorated with huge sparkling chandeliers. A large waterfall area separates the two wings of the exhibit.

Entrance to the expo is free, but donations are accepted. All proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish Quebec, a charity dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. “It’s fashion for a good cause,” said Valerie Law, vice president of marketing and communications at Les Cours Mont-Royal.

The permanent Barbie Expo is located at Les Cours Mont-Royal mall. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

The permanent Barbie Expo is located at Les Cours Mont-Royal mall. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

You can find Barbie wearing luxurious brands such as Chanel, Givenchy, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. The outfits are representative of the brand name, too, be it Barbie wearing a classic pink Juicy Couture velour tracksuit, or a leather Moschino ensemble complete with gold hardware accents.

“The expo is important for Montreal because we want to celebrate and highlight the fashion presence that we have here. Montreal is one of the fashion capitals of the world,” said Law. “Les Cours Mont-Royal is a high-fashion mall and all of the brand names that you can find on the dolls can be also found in the stores of the mall.”

The expo isn’t just for the fashionistas, though. If you’re into sports, you’ll be amused by the NBA Barbies or the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. If you’re into pop culture, you may gawk at the Jennifer Lopez, Marilyn Monroe and Beyoncé dolls. If you’ve seen wax figures of your favourite celebrities before, the dolls will seem like miniature versions of them.

Barbies wear custom-made designer outfits from brands like Coach and Calvin Klein. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

Barbies wear custom-made designer outfits from brands like Coach and Calvin Klein. Photo by Cristina Sanza.

Most of the Barbies are displayed in long rows in a glass encasing along the walls of the expo space, but there are specially designed displays for other dolls, which look nearly like miniature villages. For instance, the Times Square display features a backdrop of the area, a yellow taxi cab and the infamous Naked Cowboy. The haute-couture fashion show display features Barbie models walking down a runway as other dolls watch. Flashing lights make the display seem all the more realistic. There’s also one for Comiccon characters and the iconic ‘50s television show I Love Lucy.

There are many Barbies that represent different backgrounds, such as indigenous Barbies, black barbies or ones that represent countries. Virtually everyone will find a doll that they connect with. However, the newly-released dolls that come in different body types are not included in the exhibit.

The Barbie Expo is located on the second floor of Les Cours Mont-Royal, 1455 Peel Street.

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