Inside the apartment of the city’s most dedicated Barbie collector

Inside the apartment of the city’s most dedicated Barbie collector

Featuring vintage collectibles, artwork and decor from the world’s most famous series of dolls

Barbie collector Léah Fugère

Like many young girls, Léah Fugère played with Barbie dolls as a kid. In 2010, when she was 20, she came across a Pinterest account of Fashion Royalty dolls—a line of high-end dolls with posable bodies­—arranged into dioramas. “It was so beautiful,” she says, “like a little world.” Fugère started collecting her own dolls, styling them in dinner party dioramas, domestic scenes and rock bands.

In 2015, when Mattel released its line of “made to move” Barbies with posable bodies, Fugère began scooping them up as well, but she mostly kept her hobby to herself. “I worried that people would think I was weird,” she says. Then, in 2022, she came across the Instagram account of Azusa Sakamoto, also known as Azusa Barbie, an unabashed Barbie girl who lives in LA. “I was like, YOLO—I’m going to do that too,” says Fugère.

Related: Inside a Parkdale apartment brimming with antique Barbies, retro Fisher-Price toys and other curiosities

Fugère's Barbie collection

She repainted her Parkdale apartment in teal and pink—the same hues as her favourite Barbie Dreamhouses. She grew her collection of Barbie accessories, including purses, cars, clothes and furniture. “At first, I decorated my dollhouses to look like real houses; then I decorated my house to look like a dollhouse.”

Fugère owns at least 75 dolls, plus more than 50 Barbie-sized purses, nine Barbie vehicles (five cars, a boat and three bikes) and more than a dozen miniature Barbies for her Barbies. She estimates she’s spent over $40,000 on her collection and credits Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie with reducing the stigma around her passion. “I’ve met some of my closest friends through the doll community,” says Fugère. “We bring our minis—doll versions of ourselves—to monthly meetups. It’s a place where I feel like I can be myself.”

Original Barbie Dreamhouse
Fugère keeps her original Barbie Dreamhouse, which she bought at a yard sale in the Beaches for $20 in 2022, on a shelf in her bedroom. “I normally see them sell for at least $300”

Barbie car

Barbie's bestie Midge
Fugère has a special affinity for Midge, Barbie’s best friend. Her most treasured item is a vintage Midge with bendable legs, which she found at a Salvation Army for $3
Barbie clothes organizer
Barbie clothes and accessories are organized in labelled bins. “You have to be super scrupulous if you have a small space,” Fugère says. “I use clear containers, because otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind”
Julia, one of the first Black Barbie dolls
Fugère paid $95 for a vintage Julia, one of the first Black Barbies. It’s the most she’s paid for a doll. “I wanted her for a while. I bought her from a member of the Barbie club that I co-founded”

Barbie living room

Barbie art

Léah Fugère with her Barbie collection