Barbara Millicent Roberts is Mattel’s Barbie’s complete name. The world-famous fashion doll, which first appeared in 1959, is named after its inventor’s daughter. Ruth Handler projected a grown-up three-dimensional doll after she noticed her daughter’s fascination with paper dolls and observed that the child gave the toys adult roles.
Handler made an adult-figured doll inspired by the German toy Bild Lilli. She redesigned the Lilli doll with some help from engineer Jack Ryan. Barbie made its debut on March 9, 1959, at the American International Toy Fair, wearing a zebra-striped swimsuit and topknot ponytail that soon became its signature hairstyle.