avatarEven if you don’t have young relations dragging you through the toy aisles, you may have heard that Monday is Barbara Millicent Roberts’ (aka Barbie) 50th birthday!! I know, I know, she looks like she’s barely aged a day (or does she?!). My shoe-conscious readers will likely have heard about this event because Christian Louboutin was snagged to design the shoes for the Barbie runway show held during February’s New York Fashion Week – in addition to their selecting 50 different designers to each do an outfit for the show.

Louboutin made the shoes, pictured below, in Mattel-owned Pantone Pink 219 (I still find it strange that some companies can own colors, like Tiffany’s blue). But honestly, I’m a little disappointed with his design. When I think of Barbie shoes, they’re pumps (although, yes, I know there have been many different Barbie shoe styles manufactured). I also understand creative variety and giving the shoes a fresh taste for her 50th anniversary, but he decided on plain d’orsay peep-toe heels with an ankle strap. He should have either used the iconic Barbie pump style or made something way less basic. There’s just nothing special about these shoes.

Louboutin Barbie shoes
So I decided to look for some alternative directions Louboutin might have taken (besides the obvious option of just adjusting the color of his Very Prive pump to Barbie’s trademarked Pantone pink – you couldn’t fault him for using his own classic shape) and I also searched to find some suggestions for you (if you want to join me on March 9th, I’ll be in hot pink ;)).

My 3 suggestions in the first row by Payless, Davis by Ruthie Davis and Dior are a classic Barbie homage done right. I am completely in love with the flash of yellow on the front of the Davis platforms, but I wonder now if I’m biased because all my Barbie dolls were a product of the neon 80s, haha. Anyway, even something simple like a not so ordinary fabric, as in the velvet fuchsia Kate Spade slingbacks in the second row, can be enough to re-invent a classic style and make it your own. A bit of ruffled frill like that on the Poetic License t-strap heels also works.

Payless Lance Flex patent pink pump Davis by Ruthie Davis Sushi mary-jane pump Dior Miss Dior II stawberry patent pump
Kate Spade Grammy slingback heels Poetic Licence Body Talk heel

And now for those creative deviations I was talking about before. A few of the guest clothing designers made some questionable Barbie outfits for the runway (the bondage-inspired bathing suit comes to mind) but at least they tried to show their own interpretation. So, with that in mind, my favorite not-so-basic and totally fabulous real-life Barbie shoes are these pyramid studded wedges by Betsey Johnson and these cut-out bootie sandals by Givenchy. I’ll try to remember to have my camera out on the New York streets on Monday – wear a pair of Barbie inspired shoes that speak to you and make me proud!

Betsey Johnson Deborah wedge heel Givenchy cutout shoe boot