"When Claudia first stepped into the runaway, with her blonde, long hair and the angelic face, the whole world immediately saw her as the personification of Barbie," Donatella Versace said of the supermodel and her collaboration with the iconic toy company

By Hanna Flanagan
October 20, 2020 09:08 AM
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Claudia Schiffer is celebrating a major milestone with help from fellow fashion industry heavyweights Donatella Versace and Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing.

The legendary supermodel is the latest celebrity to officially become a Barbie, with dolls in her likeness wearing two of her all-time favorite Versace and Balmain looks launching soon. Both Barbies — created in honor of Schiffer’s 50th birthday on Aug. 25 — were unveiled on the @BarbieStyle Instagram page Tuesday morning and look nearly identical to the iconic moments by which they were inspired.

For one of her dolls, Schiffer (who worked closely with Barbie to bring the designs to life) chose to recreate the blue gown she wore during Versace’s fall/winter 1994 runway show. The dreamy dress features the label’s signature corset bodice and a flowy A-line skirt. With Schiffer’s long blonde hair, high cheekbones and famous pout, the Barbie replica is instantly recognizable.

Credit: Mattel/Barbie

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE, the supermodel reminisced on the glamorous gown and the late Gianni Versace's fashion show extravaganzas (which she says were a lot like rock concerts!).

"He was the designer who made fashion a pop culture phenomenon. We’d walk to an amazing Prince track with hundreds of photographers lining the catwalk, only to see him sitting there on the front row," she says. "He turned his runway into a live show with choreography, great lighting effects and timings similar to a theatre experience."

Meanwhile, Donatella (who took over the Italian fashion house following her brother's death) opened up about Schiffer's impact on the industry and explained why this particular Versace look was the perfect choice for her 50th birthday doll.

"When Claudia first stepped into the runaway, with her blonde, long hair and the angelic face, the whole world immediately saw her as the personification of Barbie," Versace, 65, said in a Barbie press release. "Two strong women who do not need to be empowered by anyone, because they have always been the makers of their destiny. I am so proud that to celebrate Claudia’s 50th year, the blue gown from the 1994 show was chosen as her outfit. Feminine and glamour, it really epitomizes the style of both of them."

Schiffer's Barbie collaboration also includes a doll wearing a much more recent — but equally sentimental — look from the French fashion house's spring/summer 2016 collection campaign in which she starred alongside Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

Credit: courtesy mattel

"It was an amazing shoot on a rainy Sunday in uptown New York and the first time I’d met Olivier [Rousteing], who has a unique combination of boyish charm and prodigious talent," she shares. "He marries professionalism and a quiet, calm confidence with hard work, ambition and sincerity. He’s also very funny and his positive energy and enthusiasm are infectious."

The Balmain designer, 34, said in a Barbie press release that seeing Schiffer model the long sleeve macrame top, belt and cut-out skirt ensemble — one of his "favorite runway looks" in the collection — was one of his "proudest moments," adding that "the Balmain campaign she shot for me will forever remain one of my favorite memories."

Credit: courtesy mattel

In the Q&A below, Schiffer (who shares son Caspar, 17, and daughters Clementine, 15, and Cosima, 10, with husband Matthew Vaughn) reveals more details about her 50th birthday Barbie collaboration, the special fashion moments that inspired it and her life now.

Do you have the Versace and Balmain dresses your Barbie is modeling at home? How do you store them? 

No, the dresses are in the designers’ archives, however Versace will be recreating this dress for an exhibition I’m curating on 90s photography at the Kunstpalast Museum in Düsseldorf/ Germany. It opens on March 4th and will include a host of incredible photographers from Helmut Newton to Herb Ritts, as well as special pieces such as this one, moving image, music and memorabilia from my private archive. I don’t have the Balmain dress either, but I do have one from the same collection, which I wore in the S/S 2016 campaign and which Olivier re-issued in celebration of my birthday in blue . It’s a stunning woven silk and crystal encrusted gown, which was hand-made in electric blue.

Do your daughter’s think it’s cool you have your own Barbie?

They think it’s so cool! My daughters have since inherited all of my 70’s and 80’s Barbies including their fashion, furniture and accessories to which they’ve added the current Barbies of today.

Where will you display her?

In a place of price: the kids’ Barbie room.

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear a.) Versace? b.) Balmain? c.) Barbie?

A. Fashion, and rock and roll, as well as a tinge of sadness that Gianni can’t see the doll.

B. Olivier — innovative and fun.

C. Happy childhood memories of my own and making new ones with my girls.

You’ve had so many iconic catwalk moments throughout your career - What do you do to pump yourself up before hitting the runway?

The opposite, I’m trying to calm my nerves!

Who do you love following on Instagram?

Friends and colleagues across fashion, art and interiors.

What do you wear when you want to be completely zen?

When I’m meditating, which I try to practice once a day, I wear my workout clothes and a sweatshirt by Être Cécile.