Barbie Does Palm Springs Until Halloween

Posted By: Matt Link Monday, October 22, 2012

“Barbie is a California girl through and through, and she loves the myriad of experiences that come living here: riding with Ken in her convertible through Napa, skiing up north, surfing on the beach, or shopping in Beverly Hills. But like most celebrities, she loves a languid afternoon around the pool in Palm Springs.”

So says Palm Springs resident Jim Holmes, who works at Mattel and has been designer of Barbie’s fashions there for 15 years. In a recent interview with Palm Springs Life magazine, Holmes explains the plastic icon’s enduring appeal through the generations: “At any given moment in history, Barbie is a reflection of the times and always culturally relevant. She is on trend, without being trendy, classic without being outdated. She is distinctly, unapologetically Barbie. And with that, comes her California heritage that was part of a design revolution, which was recently celebrated at museums across California. In fact, Mattel donated an original 1959 Barbie to the permanent collection of LACMA.”

Barbie’s strong link to Palm Springs is now on display at the Savage Gallery, located near the airport. A special photography exhibition, “Barbie™ Does Palm Springs,” showcases the work of local photographer Steven Henke from now until October 31st. The show features forty limited-edition prints of Barbie® (and Ken®) dolls enjoying themselves at a host of sunny Palm Springs locations. The collection is fun, creative, iconic, inspiring, sardonic, and classy, all at the same time.   
“I was working on a collection of Barbie photographs at well known Palm Springs locations when I was reminded that when I was young, people made fun of me by calling me ‘Barbie Boy’,” says the openly gay Henke. “When people look at my work, I hope they feel happy and optimistic because no matter what’s happening, ‘it does get better’.”  
Barbie™ Does Palm Springs will also hold an online auction at leading online charity auction site, running through to October 31st benefiting the LGBT center in Palm Springs. The auction will feature several one-of-a-kind items, including the “PS...I Love You Barbie® and Ken®” Dolls" designed and donated by Palm Spring resident and Mattel Designer Jim Holmes especially for this show, along with three single-edition photographs by Henke featuring “PS...I Love You Barbie® and Ken®” at iconic Palm Springs settings.

To place bids on any of these items or for more information about the auction, go to For further information about the show, go to  


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