Maddie Mod, early 1970s. "Her stylish (?) wardrobe reflects both the best and worst of seventies trends."
The words “authentic” and “Barbie” are not typically used in the same sentence, Barbie being one of the most famous symbols of fake femininity, and one of the main reasons why millions of little girls grow up to be women waging a constant battle to achieve a physically impossible body type. Compared, though, to the Barbie knockoffs in “Doll Junk: Collectible & Crazy Fashions from the ’70s & ’80s” by Carmen Varricchio (Schiffer Publishing, 2015), the original Barbie doll looks like she belongs in the Smithsonian. Oh, wait …
For his part, Varricchio appears drawn to Barbie knockoffs and their fashion-backward clothes for their sense of camp, which makes flipping through the pages of “Doll Junk” a whole lot of fun. There’s the Dawn-size doll he describes as looking like a “space alien in drag”; the “conspicuously single” Jenny Jones, who dresses her son, Baby John, in an outfit that matches the traffic-stopping catastrophe she wears to work; Petra, a Barbie clone from Germany, whose “penchant for bust darts, three-quarter sleeves, and inverted pleats recalls a forgotten world of fine dressmaker details”; and Petra’s black friend Donna Sommerwind, who debuted in 1978 and obviously takes her name from the decade’s disco queen, Donna Summer. Varricchio also introduces us to a number of Ken clones, including Fred, who, he muses, “apparently beat out Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra for the Most Liquid Eyeliner award.” Great stuff!
Wow — What a great plug! Just wanted to say thanks for your kind words regarding my new book! Best Regards, C. V.
Great article Ben and looks like a good book . Gotta love those 70’s clothes and a girl never had enough eyeliner :-) Enjoyed and will watch for book .