Mattel, the company behind the iconic plastic toy doll model, is adding “tall, curvy and petite” body shapes to its line-up of the fashion dolls.
Several skin tones, eye colors and hair styles will also be added to the collection, Mattel said.
Barbie’s figure has come under fire for years, with critics arguing it set an unrealistic body image for girls.
With the new body shapes, the toy makers say they are “offering girls choices that are more reflective of the world they see today”.
In 2015, Mattel introduced 23 new dolls to its so-called Fashionistas line with varied skin and hair colors, and a much touted flat foot – replacing Barbie’s signature heels.
With this year’s update, the Barbie Fashionistas line will feature:
33 new dolls
30 hair colors
22 eye colors
14 face shapes
7 skin tones
4 body shapes – original, plus tall, curvy and petite
Mattel executive Evelyn Mazzocco said in a statement: “We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand – these new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them – the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.”
The new dolls will go on sale in the spring of 2016 worldwide.
However, true to life, Mattel warned that “not all clothes will fit all dolls”.
Barbie maker, Mattel, saw its sales drop for a sixth consecutive quarter as the appeal of its iconic doll continued to wane.
Net sales fell by 2.5% in Q1 2015 from a year ago, while global sales of Barbie fell 14% in the same period.
The toymaker’s net loss also widened more than four-fold to $58.2 million.
Fifty-six year old Barbie has been facing stiff competition from a range of new toys and gadgets.
Electronic toys, tablets and merchandise from popular films such as Disney’s Frozen, along with competition from rivals Hasbro and Denmark’s Lego have all led to sliding sales of the doll.
Barbie accounts for a quarter of Mattel’s sales.
In an attempt to revive Barbie’s lagging popularity, Mattel had fired chief executive Bryan Stockton in January and replaced him with board member Christopher Sinclair.
“We’re starting to see progress with our core brands like Barbie and Fisher-Price, and I am confident we are making the changes necessary to perform better in the future,” Christopher Sinclair said in a statement on April 16.
Mattel’s New York listed shares were up 6.5% in after-hours trading after its sales decline was not as bad as analysts had feared.
Mattel has released two commemorative Elizabeth Taylor dolls, the faces of which were reviewed and approved by the star herself after consenting to a Barbie made in her likeness ten years before her death in 2011.
Named after the late icon’s best-selling fragrance, the glamorous Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Barbie doll sits alongside the more vixen-looking Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes Barbie doll.
Along with her signature black bob, the White Diamonds, $125, doll stands clad in a glamorous white dress with a red satin ribbon pinned on the lapel to represent the extensive work Elizabeth Taylor did for HIV and AIDS.
Meanwhile, the Violet Eyes doll, $150, wears a black satin dress with matching opera gloves and pumps, rhinestone jewels, black sunglasses and a mini “perfume” bottle. She also has a tiny red ribbon near her shoulder to represent her commitment to battling HIV and AIDS.
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Barbie doll
The two dolls are the fourth and fifth Elizabeth Taylor Barbies ever to be created, the previous three released together in 2000.
Her Father of the Bride Barbie doll featured the screen legend as a beautiful bride in the classic film by the same name.
A re-creation of the satin and lace wedding gown from the movie was made especially for the doll.
Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes Barbie doll
Elizabeth Taylor Barbie as Cleopatra was also released in 2000, her magnificent golden costume re-created complete with the dramatic “feather” cloak.
The late actress’ distinct features are captured with great detail in the doll’s sculpting – down to the exact shade of violet of her eyes.
The two Barbies have been released in the lead up to the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton biopic, Liz & Dick, premiering this Sunday.
Based on the true story of the couple’s tumultuous love affair, Lindsay Lohan stars as the legendary Elizabeth Taylor alongside Grant Bowler who plays actor Richard Burton in the Lifetime Original Movie.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Burton were Hollywood royalty and their fiery romance was the most notorious, publicized and celebrated love affair of its day.
Liz & Dick premieres on Sunday, November 25, on Lifetime at 9 p.m. EST
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