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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Recent News: Barbie Dolls
Source: Google News
Male Order: Barbie fights backHerald Scotland, August 28th
There have been African-American Barbies since the late 1960s and more recently the company introduced micro-lines such as Barbie Careers (all the obvious ones are included like rock star, film director and ice skater) and Barbie Collector (you can get...Read more
Barbie By Sophia Webster Ad Campaign Gloriously Showcases The Shoes of Your DreamsBustle, August 28th
Okay, so if all things Sophia Webster are awesome, and all things Barbie are awesome, what do you get when you combine them together for the Barbie by Sophia Webster capsule collection? Exponential awesomeness all around. The world got its first peek ...Read more
Putting a True Real Estate Price On Barbie's MansionPSFK (blog), August 28th
collaborations with different organizations, which also include a recent collection with the NHL. It also plays into the 'real-life' advertising that other children's toy makers use, such as the regular press releases about Barbie's new abodes (and...Read more
Sophia Webster to launch Barbie Collection of shoesInternational Business Times AU, August 25th
Barbie by Sophia Webster comprises nine styles. It will also consist of candy-coloured kicks -- with six styles for adults and three styles for children. The adult shoe collection will have two pairs of trainers, one pair of flat sandals and three...Read more
This Barbie-Inspired Shoe Collab Is Bound To Be Street Style GoldRefinery29, August 24th
We all heaved a sigh of relief when we heard the news that Barbie would finally get to wear flats after a long 56 years of mandatory high-heeled torture. And, now, joining us in celebrating Barbie's stiletto liberation is Sophia Webster, who has...Read more
Sophia Webster Launching Barbie CollectionFootwear News, August 21st
Sophia Webster's signature styles have been sprinkled with a bit of Barbie flair. The label is launching a line of shoes inspired by Barbie offered for both adults and children. Webster's signature styles, including her Chiara butterfly stiletto...Read more
Remembering Judy Faye Blackmon, 72, Barbie collector who used couponing skills ...ColaDaily.com, August 20th
Blackmon wasn't clipping coupons or bagging groceries, Ms. Smith said she was combing antique stores for Barbie dolls. Mrs. Blackmon collected Barbie dolls of all types and Ms. Smith said she had an entire room in her home dedicated to her collection...Read more
Collection of 2000 Barbie dolls to be auctioned in ChicagoChicago Sun-Times, August 4th
“Modern Barbie: Property from the Collection of Janice Pye” features 2,000 dolls, none of which has ever been removed from the boxes, making them even more valuable to collectors. The collection features pop culture Barbies, from Bob Mackie and Vera ...Read more