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Stevie Nicks Gets the Barbie Treatment

Midway through Stevie Nicks’s concert at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, the musician told the audience that she had a “surprise,” prompting speculation among audience members about a potential unexpected guest: Could it be Lindsey Buckingham?

It turned out that the special guest was a Barbie made to look like Nicks, and its musical abilities were limited to a tiny ribboned tambourine.

Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie, officially unveiled the Stevie Nicks doll at midnight on Sunday, the latest addition to the world of Barbie tributes to musicians, including Tina Turner, David Bowie and Celia Cruz.

(You may be thinking, that’s a lot of Barbie this year, and you are right. The audience at Madison Square Garden didn’t seem to mind.)

Bradley Justice, a doll historian and proprietor of the Swell Doll Shop, which specializes in antique and vintage dolls, said that Mattel has been making celebrity dolls since the 1960s.

“I see it as sort of a crossover branding, where you attract someone who previously may have not had an interest at all in the doll or the brand,” he said, “but suddenly is very excited to see their favorite singer or movie star or whatever immortalized in 11 and a half inches.”

The Nicks doll’s outfit, as well as a pair of Pasquale Di Fabrizio black platform boots, was inspired by her look on the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album “Rumours.”

At the concert, Nicks explained that she sent the album cover outfit, which she still had decades later, to Mattel to capture that time in her life. To roaring cheers, Nicks began to speak in a high-pitched Barbie voice, explaining how much the doll meant to her.

Nicks wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that when she looked at the doll, she saw herself at 27.

“All the memories of walking out on a big stage in that black outfit and those gorgeous boots come rushing back,” Nicks said, “and then I see myself now in her face.”

At the concert, Nicks also chose a fan in the front rows to take one doll home and promptly began to serenade the woman, named Sara, with the track bearing her name from the album “Tusk.”

The doll went on sale hours later for $55, and preorders sold out almost immediately.

Mr. Justice said that it was normal for the celebrity Barbie dolls to sell out quickly. “When you hear it’s coming, you need to just go ahead and start limbering up your fingers for your keyboard to type in your credit card number,” he said.

The rush on the Nicks doll comes after decades of Mattel’s creation of Barbie dolls that honor influential musicians, athletes and pioneers.

Mr. Justice said that one of the first celebrity Barbie dolls, released in 1969, depicted Diahann Carroll as the star of “Julia,” the first American television series to chronicle the life of a Black professional woman.

More recently, Mattel released a doll of Celia Cruz, the Cuban American singer who was known as the Queen of Salsa. The Cruz doll, dressed in a red lace mermaid dress, was unveiled in 2021 but only went on sale this year.

Carlyle Nuera, who designed that doll, said on Instagram that the design team had gone back and forth “with the fabric vendor to get the right scale of the lace design and to maximize the gold metallic threads woven throughout.”

A Tina Turner doll that was released in October 2022 has sold out in stores, but it is available on eBay for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

That doll depicts Turner in the outfit she wore in the music video for “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

Turner, who died in May, was very involved with her doll’s design process, Bill Greening, a Mattel designer, said in a news release. Mr. Greening explained that the design team studied Turner’s hair “at all angles” to capture her look. “Lots of teasing and hair spray was involved!” he said.

David Bowie has been commemorated with two Barbie dolls dressed in tribute to two of his famous looks.

Linda Kyaw-Merschon, who led the design of the second doll, which was released last year, said that it was meant to be a Barbie as Bowie, “not Bowie exactly as himself.”

The doll was dressed in a replica of the powder blue suit Bowie wore in the “Life on Mars?” music video.

The earlier Bowie doll, released in 2019, dressed as Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, wore a metallic red and blue striped get-up with siren-red platform boots and a gold circle on her forehead.

The Stevie Nicks doll was released after a big year for Barbie. The Barbie movie released in July made more than $1 billion in ticket sales at the global box office in a few weeks, according to Warner Bros., and has created a windfall for Mattel.

Nicks told USA Today that she loved the movie and said “I had to come home and tell my Stevie doll all about it.”

Melina Delkic contributed reporting from Madison Square Garden.




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