Barbie to receive one of the world's most prestigious fashion prizes

She has collaborated with everyone from the late Karl Lagerfeld to Diane Von Furstenberg, but the winner of a prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America award this year isn't a designer, or even a photographer. It's a doll.

That's right, the US' most influential fashion body is honouring Barbie, the 60-year-old iconic doll, with its Board of Directors Tribute award in June.

In a statement released overnight, the council said Barbie was being honoured "to celebrate her influence on American fashion and her role as an inspiring icon around the world".

Previous recipients of the award include former US first lady Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem and Janelle Monae. So, naturally, some people are questioning whether Barbie deserves to be in the company of so many great women.

The CFDA certainly thinks she does, judging by the gushing tributes to Barbie on its social media channels on Friday morning, Australian time.

"I have always loved how Barbie has embraced her ambitions," designer Tory Burch, a CFDA board member, said in a video recorded for Twitter.

"Barbie has always been a modern woman – Barbie is always on point," echoed designer Vera Wang.

But others were less impressed.

Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan appeared to disapprove of the award when she posted a screen shot of the CFDA's statement to her Instagram account.

"The CFDA is giving Barbie – the doll – the Board of Directors Award … And that's all I am going to say about that. For now," she wrote.

Pop culture commentators have long debated whether Barbie, with her expansive wardrobe and ridiculously small waist, was really a feminist icon for women growing up in the 1960s and beyond. In recent times, Barbie's owner, Mattel, has tried to modernise its iconic doll by releasing Barbies that focus on careers in traditionally male-centric industries, as well as "friends of Barbie" from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, including one in the likeness of UK model Adwoa Aboah.

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Australian actress Margot Robbie will play Barbie in an upcoming live-action film about the doll.

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