The Italian Almanac

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Barbie

Italian News - May 17

Barbie dolls wearing a Valentino gown in which Hollywood star Julia Roberts won an Oscar are set to raise money for AIDS. "The dress is a real jewel, one of my all-time favourites," said the Italian style icon.

The 300 Valentino-styled Barbies, priced at $500 each, go on sale in Vienna at Saturday's annual Life Ball, Europe's biggest event in favour of AIDS research. Roberts wore the gown at the 2001 Academy Awards, when she won the Best Actress award for Erin Brokovich.

Valentino is not the first Italian designer to give Barbie a frock for charity. In 2003 Giorgio Armani designed a one-off evening number and donated the rights to world youth poverty and AIDS bodies.