Skipper was released by Mattel in 1964 to appeal to little girls for whom Barbie, Skipper’s older and more worldly sister, was too grown up. Barbie was a fashion plate, whose closet could be filled with no less than 22 different outfits in her debut year (1959) alone. Skipper was the shorter kid sister, a pretty doll with chubbier cheeks, whose straight, banged hair came in blonde, brunette, and redhead.
The first Skippers were sold in boxes labeled “Barbie’s Little Sister.” She was packaged with a brass headband, a white comb and brush, and wore a modest red and white-striped swimsuit. Other Skippers sold in the doll's first few years were clad in a black-and-yellow “Masquerade” costume, a ballerina outfit, and a blue sweater with matching jeans. In 1965, Skipper got bendable legs, and by 1968 she had a Twist ’n Turn waist. The doll was so popular that the original version was reissued as early as 1970—differences include an updated Mattel logo and illustrations of outfits on the side of the box that were not available in 1964.
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We have a very small team here at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, so we all have to do lots of different things. I do… [more]