Although Barbie still claims to be the top-selling fashion doll worldwide, increasing competition in the sector means that Mattel is having to explore new avenues to hold on to that position.
In particular Barbie has come under competition by a fashion doll collection marketed by MGA Entertainment, called Bratz fashion dolls. Bratz also market cosmetic kits aimed at children.
Likewise, Barbie cosmetic lines aimed at children have long been a significant source of income for Mattel in markets such as Asia, South America and Europe.
However, the collaboration with MAC, which is majority-owned by Estee Lauder, is the first time the brand has been targeted at the adult market, where it is hoping to tap into a combination of high demand for retro chic fashion items and nostalgia for a brand that young girls have been growing up with since 1959.
Richard Dickson, vice president of worldwide marketing for Mattel said that the deal would see to respective leaders in their specific fields combining their strengths to make what he anticipates will be a significant impact on the world of fashion and beauty next year.
The financial world seemed to like the announcement, too, with shares in Mattel nudging up to a 42-month high on Monday, indicating a belief that the deal could prove a winning combination.
Currently MAC cosmetics are sold in more than 50 countries and include a spectrum of color cosmetics, makeup tools, skin care, foundations and fragrances. Key brands include the Zandra Rhodes collection, Viva Glam, Technacolour and Plushglass.
James Gager, senior vice president of MAC said that the two companies "had more in common that you might expect," stressing that they were both creatively driven.
Gager went on to say that he was looking forward to "staging the beauty image of Barbie around the world" through the new launch.