Barbie, the world-famous plastic bombshell, is turning 50 this year.

To mark the occasion and increase the doll’s fashion credentials, parent company Mattel has entered a three-year partnership contract with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and will also sponsor New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. A catwalk show featuring Barbie-inspired looks, designed by a plethora of fashion heavyweights, will kick off the collaboration during New York Fashion Week.

Not restricting her efforts to the home turf alone, Barbie’s generosity extends beyond America. In London, young designers Roksanda Ilincic and Danielle Scutt have received sponsorships to support their London Fashion Week shows. As part of the deal, both designers will dress a limited edition of 50 Barbie dolls in outfits drawing on their F/W 2009 offerings.

Catwalks aside, Assouline has just published Barbie, a book dedicated to the doll featuring images of her posing in pieces created by the likes of Prada, Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen.

And last but not least, the House of Barbie is a six-floor department store that recently opened its doors in Shanghai. The large-scale Barbie haven encompasses a spa, café, a Barbie museum and, of course, a whole lot of Barbie dolls.

Further Barbie happenings are expected to roll out over the coming months, because for Barbie, turning 50 doesn’t mean slowing down.

Emma Holmqvist