Launched at the American Toy Fair in 1959, Barbie was the first teenage doll ever produced for children and quickly became one of the all-time best selling and most widely collected toys. Heavily promoted on TV, over a billion of the dolls have been sold. Collectors prize early numbered Barbie dolls from 1959 and the 1960s, as well as a wide range of rarities and special editions, such as Barbie dolls with bendable legs or red hair.
The toy was the vision of Ruth Handler, whose husband, Elliot, was the "el" in Mattel and whose daughter, Barbara, gave the doll its name. The inspiration for Barbie’s facial features and impossible hourglass figure was Bild Lilli, a doll Handler picked up in 1956 while vacationing in Europe.
Bild Lilli, which is a collectible in its own right, had pouty lips, reminiscent of the lips found on bisque and porcelain dolls in Europe. Mattel metallurgist Kohei Suzuki gave Barbie more natural-looking lips, although her eyes and nose were kept almost identical to those of her forebear.
The other critical difference between Bild Lilli and Barbie was the concept of accessories. Beyond Barbie’s standard black-and-white zebra-striped swimsuit, little girls in the United States could choose 22 other ensembles, ranging from a collarless Chanel-style jacket with matching sheath skirt to a satin-and-tulle bridal gown. Clothing designer Charlotte Johnson was hired away from her teaching post at Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles to complete this critical task.
Most of the outfits offered in 1959 were still available in 1960, making the three that were discontinued (Easter Parade, Gay Parisienne, and Roman Holiday) extremely collectible. Of the six new outfits added in 1960, Friday Night Date was one of the best, thanks to its charming blue corduroy jumper with felt appliqués, pair of soda glasses with cotton standing in for actual fizz, and a black serving tray bearing the Barbie logo.
1961 introduced the world to Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend named after Barbara Handler’s brother. In addition to Barbies with ponytails, dolls with bubble-cut 'dos were also offered. Barbie’s ever-increasing line of outfits suggested that this woman did more than go to fancy parties and beach barbecues — she was an American Airlines stewardess, a nurse, and even a professional ballerina.
Barbie’s best friend Midge was added in 1963. Though Midge’s facial features were different from Barbie’s, her body style was the same so that accessories could be mixed and matc...
During the middle of the 1960s, dolls in the Barbie line gained bendable limbs so they could be posed, but the major facelift came in 1967. Rooted eyelashes replaced the doll’s plastic ones, and Twist 'N Turn Barbies were offered for just $1.50 plus the trade-in of an old doll, which is why many of the original vintage dolls are so hard to find and expensive. 1967 was also the year that Barbie and her increasing number of friends went mod. The Bermuda Holidays outfits predate Goldie Hawn’s costumes on Laugh-In.
1967 is important to Barbie collectors for two other reasons: It was the year an African-American doll, Francie, joined Barbie and her friends, and it was the last year the doll was manufactured in Japan. From 1968 onwards, Barbie dolls were produced in Mexico, Taiwan, and Korea.
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Theo James Shailene Woodley's 'Divergent' Cast Boyfriend 'Constipated' Barbie ...Fashion Times, August 28th
Although the Barbie doll inspired by Theo James doesn't look directly like the British hunk, its presence gives you something to hold on to, literally. The "Divergent" Collector Barbie dolls which were released some time ago features James' Four...Read more
Fall Calendarnwitimes.com, August 27th
The three-day outdoor tribute will kick off with a parade and includes a kids' pavilion, food, craft and art vendors, a classic/antique car show, a dance competition, exhibitions, a petting zoo, fireworks and much more. ..... often innocent, images of...Read more
Life In Plastic Is Fantastic Thanks To Wildfox's New Barbie LookbookMTV UK, August 22nd
Following on from the news earlier this week that Mattel is teaming up with Wildfox, as well as Lord & Taylor and Forever 21 for Barbie-inspired lines, the lookbook serves as a sneak peek of things to come from the brand. Sadly the pieces won't be...Read more
Look b-you-tiful in Barbie-inspired collectionsThe Express Tribune, August 21st
The collection for Forever 21 consists of Barbie's 1990s aesthetic-based sportswear, sleepwear, outerwear, cosmetics and accessories. It will be available at the brand's outlets and online from September 5 and its prices will range from $3.90 to $24.90...Read more
Barbie Show collection at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2014PINKVILLA, August 20th
These content links are provided by Content.ad. Both Content.ad and the web site upon which the links are displayed may receive compensation when readers click on these links. Some of the content you are redirected to may be sponsored content. View our ...Read more
Mattel launching Barbie-inspired adult fashion linePhilly.com (blog), August 19th
Wildfox, the vintage-inspired L.A. clothing company, will release an 8-piece “The Wildfox Dreamhouse” collection paying homage to retro 1980s Barbie. Wildfox's collection retails between $37.50 and $183. Forever 21's 1990s Barbie collection is the most ...Read more
Come on Barbie, Let's Go Party! Forever 21 to Release a Line with Everyone's ...InStyle, August 14th
Barbie dolls were admittedly one of our favorite childhood toys, which is why we were thrilled when we got a peek at Forever 21's newest collaboration. The mega-retailer has teamed up with Barbie on an exclusive collection set to be released this fall...Read more
Annual Tea with Barbie draws a big crowdSun-Sentinel, August 7th
gathered at the Old Davie School Historical Museum for tea and to celebrate an iconic doll. The annual Tea with Barbie drew 125 attendees. For founder Constance Ruppender, a Barbie collector who once had about 600 in her collection, it's a labor of...Read more