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Vera Wang can now add Barbie doll muse to her impressive list of accolades.
The fashion designer is the latest figure to be recreated by the Mattel brand for the Barbie Tribute Series, which celebrates visionaries whose incredible contributions have helped shape and impact culture.
Wang, 72, told PEOPLE she was "completely overwhelmed" when Barbie approached her for the collaboration. "While it has been an honor for me to have created so many looks for Barbie through the years, from wedding to red carpet, a Barbie in my own likeness is something I never could have imagined," she said.
Barbie's Tribute Series launched last year, with the first doll in the collection paying tribute to television legend Lucille Ball, a trailblazer for women in entertainment. Queen Elizabeth was also honored with a doll in April to celebrate her 96th birthday and Platinum Jubilee — a celebration of a historic 70 years on the throne.
Wang's Barbie wears a chic, all-black look that mirrors an outfit the designer created in real life.
"I wanted to encapsulate my own distinct style and personality," Wang said. "This look, taken from my Spring '17 ready-to-wear collection, represents athleisure mixed with a modern sense of femininity."
With long, draping sheer sleeves and a matching sheer front-slit skirt, the outfit is elegant but classic — much like Wang herself. A zipper-clad addition at the middle adds an extra element to the otherwise straight-down suit.
The Spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection brought a shift to what Wang's most known for –– her stunning bridal gowns. The collection was nearly entirely black, with white additions and details included sparingly. The choice to craft the Barbie outfit after this collection was in an effort to create a look that is truly Vera.
"In designing this doll, I needed to portray myself in a way that was both authentic and candid," she said. "I needed this Barbie to represent my own distinct style."
The fashion designer called Barbie "the ultimate icon," citing the Mattel doll as representative of all women. "Through the decades, she has continued to evolve, to every changing standard of women while reflecting huge shifts in our society, if not the world! To this day, she remains both relevant and an integral part of our culture, dreams, and lives."
Wang said she "adores" her Barbie because it represents her, but it also "shows all women that they should be encouraged to pursue their dreams and break new boundaries," just like she has.
Empowerment is exactly what she wants young girls to feel when they pick up her doll and play with it.
"I want them to be reminded of the never-ending journey of self-discovery, curiosity, and growth. From a young age, my parents instilled in me a steadfast work ethic. With that principle guiding my career trajectory, I was able to absorb an abundance of knowledge, meet crucial role models and mentors, and make a name for myself in a competitive industry. Even now, the learning doesn't stop, nor does the curiosity."
Wang dressed Gwen Stefani for this year's Met Gala, but was not able to attend alongside the "Hollaback Girl" singer, 52, due to a positive COVID result. She shared the health update on Instagram in a post praising Stefani, who she said "rocked it so beautifully."
Known for her signature bridal gowns, Wang also designed Stefani's two wedding dresses for her 2021 marriage to singer Blake Shelton.
Wang said she knows she's most known and "most celebrated" for her iconic bridal and red-carpet creations, but with this Barbie she wanted to reflect her other design ventures, too, which led to dressing the doll in a piece from her ready-to-wear collection.
"Seeing yourself as a Barbie is truly a surreal moment," she said. "While the other dolls were a tribute to my creative vision and impact on the fashion world, this one is so much more personal and reflective."