phpEIHNcBPM.jpgLots of talk about Barbie these days, lots of talk. It's her 50th bday, extravagant Barbie stores are opening up all over the place (like Shanghai and Mall of America), and Barbie chatter is popping up everywhere, especially here at the BUST offices.

Now folks, we love all the glamour puss incarnations of this little style icon. But let's be real--Barbie's charm isn't always in her posh outfits and shiny, California hair. I don't know what your childhood Barbie experiences were, but mine were all about hacking the outfits, accidentally popping off limbs, and, of course, taking a pair of safety scissors to that luscious blonde mop of hers.

Honoring the tradition of Barbie-as-craft-project comes Altered Barbie , a hub of all things Barbie modification. Apart from the copious web gallery, Altered Barbie hosts an annual exhibition in San Fran, which, as they say, '[celebrates] artists from around the Bay who reuse everything to make Barbie and Ken into recycled and re-usable art' . The projects themselves range from the scrappy, to the beautiful, to the bizarre (the piece above is titled 'Medusa Won't Go Riding With Helmut Because Her Snakes Don't Fit Inside Her Helmet'): tributes to the Barbie we recognize, de-glamorized and shoved haphazardly and half-dressed into crowded playroom toy boxes.

So, what's your fave version of Barbie? Preened and polished ? Or ruffed up and re-vamped ? Check out examples of both below.

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~Anna C

photos courtesy of Telegraph UK and Altered Barbies

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