As most people will know, Barbie was originally a Mattel creation, founded in 1945 by Ruth and Elliot Handler. Ruth had observed many times that her daughter would play with her friends using adult paper dolls. They would pretend they were alive and act out all types of 'house' scenes.
Ruth quickly realised there was a huge gap in the doll market for life-like dolls for children. With all of her inspiration for the doll coming from her daughter, Barbara, Ruth decided to honour her by naming the doll Barbie.
In 1959 they revealed Barbie at an International toy fair in her now famous black striped bathing suit. While there had been hopes the doll would be a commercial success, the demand for Barbie was phenomenal and the young company found itself overwhelmed.
At the time Barbie had mirrored exactly the fashions of the 1950's and each decade the doll would re-launch itself as a new icon for that decade. Throughout this process she developed her blonde hairstyle that hasn't changed since.
Year by year the doll still increases in popularity and has truly cemented itself in the households of just about every girl and mother across the globe.