20 Rare Barbie Dolls With Impeccable Style

America's favorite fashion doll has taken the world by storm once more with the release of Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" movie in 2023. Her fabulous signature ensembles and effortlessly chic accessories are inspiring both old and new fans alike, even giving birth to the Barbiecore trend sweeping the globe. Margot Robbie, the star of "Barbie" and an icon in her own right, has even emulated many rare and popular Barbie looks during the film's press tour.


Barbie has had her fair share of controversy over her 64-year existence, much of which has revolved around representation and messaging surrounding body image. However, it cannot be denied that this humble toy's meteoric rise to fame has cemented itself in pop culture and made a nostalgic home in hearts around the world. It can be said that her decades of awe-inspiring style have had an impact on the fashion world as well. From the zebra-print bathing suit worn by the original Barbie to bedazzled, one-of-a-kind dolls sold for thousands of dollars at auction, the 20th and 21st centuries have seen some wonderfully rare Barbies with truly impeccable style. 

1. Original Barbie (1959)

One of the most rare and consequently valuable Barbie dolls is the Original Barbie. Created by Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler and released in 1959 at the New York Toy Fair, Barbie was a revolutionary concept that was met with some initial skepticism. Handler believed a grown-up doll would inspire children to grow up thinking they could be anything they wanted to be. However, some feared that encouraging young girls' imaginations would impede the idea of motherhood that popular baby dolls nurtured.


Despite the initial doubts, Barbie, named after Handler's daughter, became an outstanding success. The plastic doll wears a fashionable, strapless black and white bathing suit paired with gold hoop earrings, white cat-eye sunglasses, and dainty black slip-on heels. Original Barbie featured blue eyes and blond or brunette hair worn in a high ponytail. She had matching red lipstick, fingernail polish, and toenail polish. Originally sold for $3, the first Barbie is now a collector's item worth up to $27,000 in the right condition. "Everyone dreams of the day they find her hidden at a garage sale," collector Britten Follet tells Reader's Digest.

2. Career Girl Barbie Doll (1963)

Career Girl Barbie was released exclusively in Japan, where the majority of Barbies were manufactured in the doll's early history, in 1963. Currently worth $3,495, Career Girl Barbie had a similar mold and facial expression to Original Barbie, with her side eyes and pouty red lips. However, Career Girl featured a variety of hair colors and styles, from long red ponytails to short brunette bobs.


This doll was modeled after fashionable career women of the early 1960s. The business attire she wears includes a red knit blouse, a fitted black and white tweed skirt and matching jacket, a black and white tweed hat with a black velvet ribbon and rosebud accent, open toe heels, and long black gloves. Some dolls did not come with the elbow-length gloves, which increases their value if found. A reproduction of the 1963 doll was released in 2006 which added a sleek black clutch to the chic, vintage ensemble. However, this newer version is only worth around $150.

3. Gala Abend Barbie (1965)

In 2006, the famous Christie's South Kensington (CSK) art auction house sold a private collection of several hundred Barbie dolls. Included in that collection was the Gala Abend Barbie, released in 1965 exclusively in Europe and Japan. At the auction, this rare Barbie doll was sold for $9,148.


The doll is an American Girl with short, dark brown hair and bangs. She has the face of the original Barbie mold, with wide blue eyes and small, pouty lips, although this model wears ice blue eyeshadow and red lipstick to complement her fabulous evening gown. The doll is also special because of its bendable legs, which had only recently become a feature when she went on the market. She wears a long, ivory and gold colored dress with a matching floor-length jacket over it. A white fur cuff encircles the neck of the jacket and matches her delicate white gloves. The doll also came with a shiny silver clutch and a tiny dance program attached around her wrist, a level of detail that is as charming as it is delicate. 


4. Pink Jubilee Barbie (1989)

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Barbie, Mattel released Pink Jubilee Barbie in February 1989. A black-tie ball was thrown in her honor at the Lincoln Center in New York City, with each attendee receiving one of the 1,200 limited edition dolls. Today, she is worth around $800. 


Pink Jubilee Barbie had a SuperStar head mold, featuring a more modern-looking face which was released in 1977. For her birthday celebration, Pink Jubilee Barbie wore a long, puffy-sleeved pink and silver lamé dress, a fabric which features metallic threads woven throughout for a glitzy, eye-catching sparkle. A large sash is wrapped around the hips and tied in a bow on one side, which trails into a voluminous shimmery skirt. Long silver earrings peek out from behind her platinum blond hair, which is long and curled in accordance with fashion of the day. Barbie's bright blue eyes are accentuated by electric blue eyeliner and lashes as well.

5. Bob Mackie Starlight Splendor Barbie (1991)

In addition to dressing celebrities and stars like enigmatic blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross, fashion icon Bob Mackie is responsible for creating 47 different and complete Barbie doll looks. While versions of Barbie throughout the decades highlighted different careers and lifestyles through fashion, Mackie's creations were much more glamorous and chic. "I was a real costume designer," Mackie shares in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "And I had no desire to make her look like the bookkeeper or the airline stewardess. This is more fantasy-oriented. She could be anything we wanted her to be."


His attention to detail and belief in representation brought the 1991 Starlight Splendor Barbie, currently worth between $80 and $200. This was the second doll Mackie created for Mattel. An African American doll, Starlight Splendor Barbie wears a stunning black, white, and silver floor-length gown embellished with glittering beads and sequins, and a feathery train. The doll wears a bejeweled headdress that matches her bracelets and holds her dark curly hair in place.

6. Totally Hair Barbie (1992)

Totally Hair Barbie, Mattel's bestselling Barbie doll released in 1992, sold more than 10 million dolls around the globe. "Totally Hair Barbie was an extension of a long career working with hair play, stemming back to the 1960's," the doll's designer Carol Spencer is quoted in Women's Wear Daily. "It started with Elliot Handler, the founder of Mattel. It was his idea to produce hair-featured dolls."


Totally Hair Barbie wears a bold, multicolor print minidress inspired by the designs of Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci. She wears dangling triangle-patterned earrings in a coordinating hot pink, which also match her closed toe pumps. Of course, despite her fun and fashionable outfit, it is her hair that consumers clamored for. Totally Hair Barbie has long, ankle-length crimped hair that came in blond and brunette. The doll's original packaging also featured hair gel and a comb which encouraged creative hairstyling. Today, Totally Hair Barbie is worth around $160.

7. Pink Splendor Barbie (1996)

At the time of her release in 1996, the limited edition Pink Splendor Barbie was sold for $900, a then all-time high price for the popular brand. Although only 10,000 Pink Splendor Barbie dolls were manufactured and sold, today the Barbie can be found for upwards of $250.


Her elaborate and exquisitely crafted pink ball gown was the reason for the initial high price point. Pink Splendor Barbie wears a voluminous gown made of pale pink satin. The bodice of the dress is bedazzled with rhinestones, pink taffeta, and gold details mirrored in the hem of the gown, which is adorned with shimmering, gold-trimmed lace. The pale pink sash around the waist is as voluminous as the skirt, featuring a thick bow, trailing ribbons, and intricately crafted roses. In addition to matching undergarments, Pink Splendor Barbie is accessorized with crystal jewelry and matching tulle bracelets on each wrist.

8. De Beers 40th Anniversary Barbie (1999)

The most expensive and elaborate Barbie in existence is the De Beers 40th Anniversary Barbie, released in 1999 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary doll. The renowned British diamond company, famous for creating the slogan "diamonds are forever" that sold diamond engagement rings, helped Mattel design a diamond-encrusted Barbie doll.


The raven-haired Barbie wears an evening gown made of a gauzy, layered skirt in shades of pale yellow and pink, which coordinates with a long, orange shawl draped over her shoulders. At the time of her release, her long, straight hair with straight-across bangs were unlike anything currently on the market, and her dark lipstick made her stand out from the traditional Barbie's pink and blue makeup palette. The doll also came with a risqué bikini top and accompanying accessories which are made of white gold. The entire outfit features a dainty belt that hangs over the skirt and is made of 160 individual diamonds, putting the doll's retail price point at $85,000. The doll was never made available in stores and instead went straight to auction.


9. Midnight Tuxedo Barbie (2001)

Midnight Tuxedo Barbie, created by current senior director of Barbie design Robert Best, was released in 2001. Depending on the condition, Midnight Tuxedo Barbie can be found online for up to $995, although the average price is around $295. She was a limited edition exclusive released as part of the Official Barbie Collector Club collection.


Her look is a bold and elegant take on evening wear. The doll features a sleeveless, floor-length gown with a fitted bodice inspired by a traditional black tuxedo jacket. The collar of the gown has sharp, shiny, satin lapels that lead to six large silver buttons on the torso. The dress ends in a flared, mermaid-style skirt that hits the floor. Midnight Tuxedo Barbie's glamorous gown and sparkling jewelry is accessorized by a dramatic faux fur stole in black and a matching satin clutch. Both versions of the doll also wear a full face of makeup and have long, flowing hair that resembles Old Hollywood glam waves.

10. City Smart Silkstone Barbie Doll (2003)

The glamorous line of Silkstone Barbies was released in 2000. Also referred to as Fashion Model Barbies, these couture-dressed dolls were made of a silky vinyl intended to mimic porcelain, resulting in a heavier, more durable doll. Unlike previous iterations of the modern Barbie mold, Silkstone models had a vintage look to them as a result of being sculpted from the Original Barbie from the '50s.


The City Smart Silkstone Barbie Doll was a limited edition release that hit the market in 2003. Only 600 were made, 200 of which made it to the U.S. collector's market. City Smart Barbie wears an elegant silk dress with bows at the shoulder and a small slit in the skirt. Her accessories include a large, white straw hat with a black tulle bow, wrist-length white gloves and black pumps. Her rarity and sophisticated style makes her worth between $1,151 and $2,995.

11. Marie Antoinette Barbie (2003)

The special edition Marie Antoinette Barbie honors the famous French queen, designed as part of Mattel's Women of Royalty series. Her elegant and courtly look was inspired by portraits completed by oil painter Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun during the queen's reign in the late 18th century. Today, Marie Antoinette Barbie is one of the most expensive dolls in the brand's collection, ranging from $1,250 to $3,500 in online auctions.


Marie Antoinette Barbie wears an historically accurate periwinkle blue gown with a full skirt and train. The bodice features sleeves embellished with flouncy lace and bows. The elaborately pleated, gathered, and tucked skirt features bows with gold tassels, golden lace, and ends in a golden fringe hem just above the floor. The doll also wears pantaloons and period-accurate shoes with blue satin ribbons. She wears a diamond necklace and she carries two pink, porcelain roses in her right hand. Her silvery blond hair is piled high in an elaborate updo and adorned with a huge blue hat with feathers. She also wears a mildly playful expression the real life queen was known for, bringing her to life in more ways than one.


12. Châtaine Barbie (2003)

Châtaine Barbie was a Limited Edition doll included in the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. The collection, which launched in 2000, featured Silkstone dolls that had the face of the original Barbie. The majority of the collection had Barbies adorned in glamorous outfits inspired by the high end fashion world, all designed by Robert Best. Roughly 600 of these dolls were made.


Châtaine, which translates to "chestnut" in French, is an apt name for the brown-clad Barbie doll, currently valued at $1,150. She wears a strapless bustier made of taffeta under an elegant floor-length, figure-hugging skirt in a shiny cappuccino color. An elaborate organza jacket with bell sleeves, also made of a sheer taffeta, features swirls of lace and gold sequins and a velvet-like brown bow. In addition to long, sparkly earrings, Châtaine Barbie accessorizes this look with a long chocolate fur stole that perfectly complements her dark updo. It is easy to picture this magnificently dressed woman attending a movie premiere or stepping onto the runway at Paris Fashion Week.

13. Queen Elizabeth I Barbie (2004)

Queen Elizabeth I Barbie, also a member of the Women in Royalty collection, was released in 2004. In real life, Queen Elizabeth I, a monarch beloved for ushering in a Golden Age in Great Britain, was known for her love of fashion and her obsession with appearance. Her wardrobe featured a number of elaborate gowns made of rich fabrics, brilliant patterns, and expensive colors, which communicated her status and wealth. She was also a fan of jewelry and baubles.


Queen Elizabeth I Barbie was inspired by the 1592 painting "The Ditchley Portrait" by Marcus Gheeraerts. She wears the redheaded monarch's signature style, a complex Elizabethan dress which features a stiff, flat bodice, a full, shaped skirt, and long sleeves. Although Queen Elizabeth I Barbie's dress is grand, it is nowhere near as elaborate as or contains the number of pieces the real Queen Elizabeth would have had to don in order to achieve the period's grand shape. The white and red dress is accompanied by an open, fan-shaped ruff and a wired veil behind the head. She wears a number of sparkling gemstones around her throat and long strings of pearls that match her dramatic headpiece, and carries a fan.


14. Dahlia Barbie (2006)

Dahlia Barbie was another beloved feature of Robert Best's Barbie Fashion Model Collection. The BFMC doll was released in December 2006 and received Platinum Label status, meaning less than 1,000 were made. Exactly 999 Dahlia Barbies were released, in fact, putting her resale value at around $2,400.


Dahlia Barbie is the designer's ode to the romantic and vibrant Spanish culture. The redheaded doll wears a strapless ball gown made of black lace and a fitted bodice through the hips. Delicate gold lace trims the sweetheart bust and repeats in the sash of the bodice, embellished by a black satin bow and Swarovski crystal brooch. The gown features a full, tiered skirt reminiscent of the country's flamenco dancers, and is embroidered with elaborate gold flowers. White, elbow-length gloves and a pair of sparkly earrings complete the ensemble, cementing this Barbie as one of the most rare and well-dressed Barbie dolls in existence.

15. Golden Gala Barbie (2009)

Golden Gala Barbie was a Barbie's Fashion Model Collection Silkstone style doll made in 2009. Designed by Best, Golden Gala Barbie was released at the National Barbie Doll Convention in Washington D.C. to celebrate the doll's 50th anniversary. Between 600 and 1,000 dolls were made, making it a limited edition piece. Like the Jubilee Barbie from 1989, the Caucasian and African-American versions of the doll were given out to attendees at an exclusive event. Collectors can spend upwards of $1,400 to add Golden Gala Barbie to their collection.


The lush, retro-inspired ensemble includes an elegant, floor-length gown made of a golden brocade fabric. The sleeveless dress features tiny gold sequins across the bust and a thick brocade sash that sits low on the hip. The dress is also tightly fitted through the knees before fanning out in a dramatic mermaid skirt. Accompanying the elegant dress are a vintage bolero jacket and elbow-length white gloves.

16. AKA Centennial Barbie (2008)

Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority founded by Howard University students in 1908, was celebrated on their 100th anniversary with the AKA Centennial Barbie. AKA was the first sorority for Black women in the country, with notable members like Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou.


In a 2008 interview with Houston Style Magazine, director of Barbie collector marketing Elizabeth Grampp noted the importance of highlighting the organization's milestone with a collector's edition doll. "Mattel sought licensing for the doll — the first in the company's flagship brand based on any sorority and any predominantly Black organization — upon learning that Alpha Kappa Alpha is marking its 100th anniversary this year," she said. "When you pair that milestone with an organization representing an amazing cross-section of women who are empowered leaders in any field, it's a real opportunity to introduce the hobby of collecting to a new group of collectors."

The doll is dressed in a flowy, pink and green evening gown to honor the sorority's colors. In 2008, the collector's edition doll was sold for $50. Today, an AKA Centennial Barbie can cost as much as $500.


17. Barbie as Athena (2010)

Her fierce outfit might not be considered haute couture or high fashion, but Barbie as Athena is a rare and beautiful interpretation of the fearsome Greek goddess. A Gold Label model released in February 2010, only 5,300 dolls were made. The doll can be found online for anywhere from $450 to $1,990 from select sellers.


Barbie as Athena can be found wearing an iridescent, silver-gray dress with a chain belt and a sheer chiffon cape that gradually changes color from white to red. As a warrior goddess, Athena wears golden armor on both legs and down one arm. Her breastplate is also gold, with depictions of her symbol the owl represented in the armor. A gold helmet with long scarlet feathers covers her dark hair and complements the metallics and reds of her makeup. A long spear and gold shield emblazoned with her name and likeness complete the look.

18. Stefani Canturi Barbie (2010)

The Original may be one of the most sought after and rare Barbies, but it is hardly the most expensive doll to ever exist. That title belongs to the Stefani Canturi Barbie, released in 2010 as part of the Barbie Basics collection. The doll was created with the help of Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi, who created a dazzling necklace of emerald cut pink diamonds for the doll. Each pink diamond is one carat. Surrounding these rare gemstones are three carats of white diamonds. This rare and expensive accessory helped the one-of-a-kind Stefani Canturi Barbie sell for $302,500 at auction, funds which went to the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


In addition to her dazzling necklace, the Stefani Canturi Barbie wears a matching ring. All this bling is offset by a simple, knee-length dress. The strapless party dress features voluminous layers of black tulle. Her bright blond hair is styled in a polished, high ponytail with bangs, similar to her predecessor Original Barbie.

19. Devi Kroell Barbie (2010)

The Devi Kroell Barbie was also released in 2010, although her retail price tag was significantly lower than Stefani Canturi Barbie. She too was a one-of-a-kind Barbie designed by the New York luxury fashion house Devi Kroell for a charity auction. Her sale of $1,075 benefitted the Council of Fashion Designers of America's fashion scholarship program and education initiatives.


Regarding the design, Devi Kroell said in a Cision press release, "Her Devi inspired look was created in the same way as we would a new piece for a new collection, starting with her very own pattern, her very own muslin, her first prototype fitting, first correction, her second prototype fitting, look, style, and fit ... creating not only a special look but also capturing a picture perfect childhood memory for everyone involved."

The stylish doll has dark hair pulled back in a neat braid and wears a simple but elegant black dress. The dress has long sleeves and a semi-square neckline, paired with a sash around the waist. Her burgundy handbag hangs from a long chain and perfectly accents her thigh-high boots, which are made of real gold.


20. Pink Diamond Barbie (2013)

Pink Diamond Barbie had an estimated worth of $15,000 when she was released during New York Fashion Week in 2013. Designed by Mattel and fashion designers Phillipe and David Blond, the statuesque blond Barbie is dressed in her signature hot pink color from head to toe. The Blonds' real-life designs, which have been worn on celebrities like Beyoncé and Katy Perry, are theatrical, sparkly, and always glamorous. Their signature look easily translates to the fun and colorful Pink Diamond Barbie. She was sold at auction and the proceeds were donated to the MAC AIDS Fund organization.


Pink Diamond Barbie was aptly named, considering her strapless minidress is covered in tiny pink and fuchsia diamonds, reportedly hand selected by the Blonds. Her sky-high pink heels are also bedazzled to match her pink diamond ring and pink diamond earrings. A trailing pink faux fur coat completes the ensemble.