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
Boy asks Santa to bring his dad back from heavenDaily Mail, November 28th
When most kids sit on Santas' lap, they wish for a new bike or a Barbie doll, but for one young boy, all he wants for Christmas is to have his dad back from heaven. Issac Zariffa, from Sydney's west, never met his father, Peter, after he died in a...Read more
Anything 'Frozen' is the hot holiday gift this yearWorcester Telegram, November 27th
Released Monday, the National Retail Federation's holiday top toys survey states one in five parents (20 percent) this holiday season plans to buy Disney "Frozen" merchandise for the little girls in their life, beating out the top reigning Barbie (16.8...Read more
Wildfox Designed "Hangover Clothes" for Real Life LA BarbiesLA Weekly, November 21st
The new fashion collection, designed by the West Hollywood-based women's brand Wildfox, is called "Welcome to the Dreamhouse: At Home with Barbie," and it looks exactly like what you'd imagine: star-spangled leotards, mesh sweatshirts paired with ...Read more
Janesville woman sharing vintage Barbie collectionWinona Daily News, November 14th
As an adult, she has become a collector of vintage Barbie dolls, outfits and accessories made between 1959 and 1968. Thurner received her first Barbie as a gift in December 1959, The Janesville Gazette (http://bit.ly/1yUXY4l ) reported. Her mother and ...Read more
Fifth Harmony gets its own collection of Barbie dollsFox News Latino, November 10th
Since winning “The X Factor,” the all-girl singing group Fifth Harmony is taking the music world by storm. They opened for Demi Lovato's “Neon Lights” tour and were named MTV's “Artist to Watch” at this year's Video Music Awards. Now the ladies of...Read more
Photo of Fifth Harmony and Their Barbie Doll Collection Available on Business ...Finances.com, November 7th
A pop star partnership designed to inspire! Showing girls around the world that 'anything is possible' the all-girl group Fifth Harmony and Barbie(R) launched a collection of Fifth Harmony Barbie dolls today. Each doll is inspired by each group member...Read more
Wildfox Resort 14 'Dreamhouse' Collection Featuring Range Of Barbie(TM ...MRO (press release), November 6th
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wildfox Resort 14 'Dreamhouse' collection, reflective of Barbie looks inspired by the late eighties, hits stores worldwide this month. In collaboration with Mattel, the range offers a limited edition 8...Read more
Vintage Barbie collection to be showcased at Hedberg Public LibraryJanesville Gazette, November 4th
As an adult, she has become a collector of vintage Barbie dolls, outfits and accessories made between 1959 and 1968. Thurner received her first Barbie as a gift in December 1959. Her mother and grandmother rode the train from Elkhorn to Boston Store in ...Read more