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Friday, October 27, 2006

Hillary Duff and Barbie

OK, Hillary Duff is the new big thing in the world of Barbie. I'm not feeling the Hillary Duff magic touch. Maybe it's just me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Barbie doll discussed in India West Newspaper

Barbie Goes Indian with Diwali-themed Doll


By LISA TSERINGIndia-West Staff Reporter


The iconic Barbie doll sports Indian clothes and jewelry. In its "Dolls of the World" line, Mattel released the "Diwali Festival Doll" back in August but is now marketing the doll in time for holiday shopping.

A description of Diwali Barbie as it appears in Mattel's promotional materials reads, "The most important and magical festival celebrated in India is Diwali. Homes are decorated with marigolds and mango leaves, thousands of oil diyas or lamps are lit as auspicious symbols of good luck, and everyone enjoys sweets to the sound of firecrackers and revelers.

"Diwali Barbie doll wears a traditional teal sari with golden detailing, a lovely pink shawl wrap, and exotic jewelry. The final detail is a bindi on the forehead - a jewel or a mark worn by Hindu women to indicate that they are married. Doll cannot stand alone.

"Diwali Barbie is just one of dozens of themed, collectible Barbies created by Mattel. Other exotic variations include the Hawaiian Hula Honey, Swahili princess, Oktoberfest Barbie, and Brazilian Carnaval dolls.

Though likely to be embraced by little girls across the country, the doll has faced resistance from some more politically inclined grownups.

"If we wanted little Indian children running around and worshipping a disproportionately tall woman whose skin is unnaturally white and lives up to the standards of exotic in the West, we would point them all to Aishwarya Rai.

At least she does something," writes feminist blogger onebrownwoman.

A poster on SepiaMutiny.com noted that Barbie's costume is really more like "half a sari" - closer to a lehnga with chunari - and that her forehead ornament is a tikka, not a bindi. At the end of Mattel's product description, the caveat "Doll cannot stand alone" has also inspired snickers in the blog community.

"Thank you Barbie for reminding us that at the end of the day, no woman should really be able to stand alone. Especially not the exotic ones," writes onebrownwoman.

Responding to a reporter's comment that some were concerned about the message conveyed by Diwali Barbie's blue eyes and fair skin, a spokesperson for Mattel told India-West in an email Oct. 16, "Representing 45 nationalities and sold in more than 150 nations throughout the world, Barbie doll has shown girls that beauty is represented by a diversity of looks. "The Diwali(tm) Barbie(r) Doll is part of our Dolls of the World(tm) collection which celebrates various Festivals of the World(tm). There are several dolls in the collection this year including Chinese New Year Barbie(r) and Carnaval Barbie(r), each featuring beautiful costumes with intricate details that are associated with each festival."

Incidentally, this is not the first Indian Barbie to be released by Mattel. The company sold an Indian Princess Barbie in 2001, clad demurely in a head-to-toe pink silk sari, but the doll was discontinued.

:by indiawest

A Message from Robert Best on Blogging Project Runway

Here's the sketch of one of Robert Best's designs from Project Runway Season 3. Robert was my choice to win but I won't go there again on this blog. I love this dress and I can visualize it on a Silkstone.

Here's the link to Robert's message. Smooches!

Barbie boosts Mattel's sales

From Forbes.com


Even in middle age, Barbie's a stunner.

Barbie, introduced in 1959, helped boost Mattel 's third quarter sales 7%, driving its stock to a 52-week high on Monday.

The company cited strong sales of Barbie, which the company calls a "fashion" doll, Little People, TMX Elmo and toys related to "Cars," an animated film released by Walt Disney (nyse: DIS - news - people )'s Pixar.

TMX Elmo is the tenth anniversary edition of Sesame Street's popular Elmo doll and is marketed by Mattel unit Fischer Price.

"We think that in the near term, Mattel stock will trade on the fortunes of Barbie, the company's most important and most iconic product in its line," Gerrick Johnson, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said in a research report. "While other product lines can generate marginal and incremental sales and profit, we think investor focus will remain on Barbie for some time. Barbie is still in turnaround mode, but we think the brand is gaining some momentum."

Johnson believes Mattel can generate earnings per share of $1.25 in 2006, $1.40 in 2007 and $1.55 in 2008. The estimates include the Radica Games (nasdaq: RADA - news - people ) acquisition announced earlier this month, which the analyst believes will add about five cents a share in annual earnings.

BMO Capital Markets maintained an "outperform" on Mattel.

"We view the rest of the 2006 product line positively and think the company is picking up market share and shelf space and that the company's financial performance will reflect this strong product performance," Johnson said.

The toy maker's sales figures included a 5% gain in domestic sales and a 12% increase in international sales.
Mattel reported third-quarter net income of $239 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $225.3 million, or 55 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Current earnings beat Wall Street's consensus by one cent.
Net sales for the third quarter were $1.7 billion, up about 7% from the same period a year ago.

Mattel closed Monday at $21.30, up 60 cents or 2.9%. The 52-week range is $14.52 to $20.75.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mattel's New Barbie Doll Raises Money and Awareness for Breast Cancer

I have not purchased this doll yet but it seems to be an excellent way to help in the fight against breast cancer. Here's the article from Yahoo! News.

The fight against cancer has to be enthusiastically promoted all year long. IMHO. Peace.

Vanessa


New Barbie Doll Could Teach Children About Breast Cancer
Mon Oct 2, 5:00 PM ET

A new Barbie doll aims to raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

Mattel Inc. has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to create the Pink Ribbon Barbie doll and the foundation will receive at least $100,000 from the toy company as part of the new partnership.
"The Pink Ribbon Barbie doll celebrates the incredible strength, beauty and resilience of women," Mattel announced in a statement Monday. "The doll's beautiful pink gown with attached pink ribbon proudly underscores Barbie doll's support for the cause."

The company said the new doll could be used to teach children about breast cancer. The dolls cost about $24.95 in retail stores like Target and Wal-Mart, the company said.

"Developing breast cancer is undoubtedly difficult for those diagnosed, but many times can be just as daunting for the people who love them," said Liz Grampp, director of marketing, Mattel. "Barbie doll has traditionally provided a great way for mothers, and even grandmothers, to connect with their daughters."

Mattel initiated with "buy"

Monday, October 16, 2006 2:48:07 AM ET
Wedbush Morgan Securities

NEW YORK, October 16 (newratings.com) - Analyst Sean McGowan of Wedbush Morgan initiates coverage of Mattel Inc (MAT.NYS) with a "buy" rating.

The 12-month target price is set to $25.In a research note published on October 13, the analyst mentions that Barbie has stabilized and is poised to generate growth from 2007 onwards. Pressures related to commodity costs also seem to have stabilized, the analyst says. Mattel is likely to continue to buyback shares going ahead in view of the company’s robust cash flows and balance sheet, Wedbush Morgan adds.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Robert Best speaks at Barbie Convention in Calgary


Barbie’s best clothes designer

Joanne Sasvari, Calgary HeraldPublished: Friday, October 06, 2006

As a designer, Robert Best loves luxurious fabrics and glamorous fashions. He adores beautiful colours, fine details and exquisite accessories.

“I’m always grounded in a certain esthetic or style. I’m a purist, a classicist,” says Best. “I’m not going to be Mr. Crazy-Over-the-Top.”

Unfortunately for women who lust after his luscious clothing, he designs for just one woman, and she happens to be 29 centimetres tall, made of resin and occasionally ends up in the bottom of the toy box, minus a limb or two.

Best is the fashion designer for Mattel Inc.’s Barbie doll. He is also famous for his appearance this past season on Bravo’s Project Runway, the reality TV show that follows a bunch of competing fashion designers. He made it more than halfway through before being cut.

“Project Runway was cool,” he said at a recent Barbie convention in Calgary. “It was an exhausting, gruelling schedule and you’re being filmed constantly. You’re in this hotbed of insanity and competition. There is a tendency to come unglued a little.”

The whole time he was on the show, he was aware that he represented Mattel: “I didn’t want to be the crazy designer who trash-talks everyone else. I just tried to make it about the work.”

Best joined Mattel 11 years ago after working in New York’s fashion industry for five years, most recently for Isaac Mizrahi.

“I just reached a point where I was suffering from fashion burnout,” he says with a shrug.

A friend suggested that, since his sketches always looked like Barbie anyway, he should consider working at Mattel. So he did.

Now he designs the highly sought after Barbie Fashion Model Collection, a series more likely to be kept in a display cabinet than a toy box.

And while Barbie herself may never complain that, say, a certain design makes her bum look too big, the job definitely has its challenges.

“I think the biggest challenge in designing for Barbie is the scale. You’re designing for an 11 1/2-inch doll,” Best says.
“Surprisingly, in Barbie land, certain things, really fine details like pintucking, aren’t going to have the same effect.”

Then there’s the problem of scaling materials down to Barbie size. While buckles, beads, jewelry and so on can be miniaturized, fabric can’t.

“There aren’t tiny looms to weave Barbie scale,” Best says.

Instead, for impact, he uses colour, texture, feathers and fake fur. “And, of course, who doesn’t like sparkle?”

The process begins when he comes up with a sketch for a design. Next, he turns to his sample maker, Nini Tun.
“She’s the point person for everything,” he says. “I show her a sketch and she really understands how I want that to come to life.”

Once Tun has created her sample, they visit the face and hair people who help determine what the doll should look like, whether she should have blue eyes and platinum hair, for instance, or green eyes and red hair.

“It’s a very head-to-toe thing. It’s not just fashion,” Best says.

After that, the rest of the team crafts the accessories, the jewelry, shoes, handbag, and so on. Then, he says, “All of these details have to be translated into an actual product.”

Although the design process is quick — about two weeks from sketch to prototype — it can take Barbie two years to get from concept to toy store.

The most recent collection Best has created is the 2007 Barbie Fashion Model Collection Hollywood.
“I don’t think there’s anything that represents old world glamour as well as the golden era of Hollywood,” he says. Besides, he adds, “L.A. is Barbie’s home, so it seemed kind of natural.”

The collection features glamorous clothes that many real women would love to own, among them a Sarah Jessica Parkerish pink dress and a red-and-leopard ensemble complete with Balenciaga-esque handbag.

Luckily, he says, designing for Barbie lets him really explore his fashion esthetic: “They’ve given me a very sort of carte blanche approach. We try to switch it up every year and make sure it’s unique.”

Unique, and very tiny.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Portico unveils Barbie Collection


Portico, one of India’s leading and premium home d├ęcor and furnishings brand being distributed and retailed by Creative Mobus Fabrics Ltd. in India, has unveiled its Barbie collections for the forthcoming festive season. Portico now offers the complete kids’ range of products comprising all the popular characters.

India Infoline News Service / Mumbai Oct 07, 2006 18:02

Portico has license from Mattel (Toys) India Ltd for Barbie in India. Portico presents a girly collection of bed linen in soft pinks to bright reds, with the focus on the pretty Barbie. Just as girls dress their Barbie dolls in anything that sparkles, she loves to hear bedtime stories. Her home is her universe and her room her favorite place. Portico’s collection of Barbie Bed linen makes all her dreams come true! The fabric is 100 per cent cotton. The designs are available with center motif/ panel printing in reactive. The prints are photographic with the image of Barbie shining on the bed sheet and pillowcases. There is also a set available with 1 bed sheet + 1 pillowcase + 1 cushion. The designs include: Ballerina, Planet Smile and Mermaidia.

Rajiv Merchant, CEO-Portico (Domestic Business), Creative Mobus Fabrics Ltd., said, “Each Indian girl grows with Barbie, which is a fun, friendship and fashion lifestyle brand, targeted towards girls 3 plus years old with cool, trendy, fashion forward, glamorous attitude and the response to new collection is extremely good.

The new collections will be available at all leading home textile / furnishing outlets as well as large format stores. The price range of the Portico kids range starts Rs1099 and goes upto Rs3,499.

The collection has been carefully chosen to capture the latest interest of girls, in terms of fantasy.

Barbie collectors should beware

IndyStar.com Indiana Living
October 8, 2006


By Susan Taylor Martin
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times


When Mattel introduced Barbie in 1959, I was 10 and too old for dolls. But in 1995, at the ripe young age of 46, I went to an auction that included a No. 3 Barbie and a case full of clothes.

The outfits were such beautiful, miniature copies of 1960s couture fashion that I was instantly hooked. I started collecting vintage Barbies, a hobby I still pursue.

I scout the antique malls and flea markets for vintage Barbie items. It's easy to get ripped off if you don't know what to look for:

Contrary to widespread belief, the date on the doll refers only to the year Mattel copyrighted the body style, not the year the doll was actually made. Early Barbies, like the ponytails, bubblecuts, American Girls and Twist N Turns, are marked 1958 and have "Japan" on the rear end or on the bottom of one foot. Most newer dolls, which have little or no value to collectors, are dated 1966 and are made in other countries.

No. 1 Barbies are extremely rare because they were sold for just one year. They are the only dolls whose feet have metal tubes in them that fit onto a pronged stand. Most other Barbies have holes in the feet, but there is no tube.

Condition, condition, condition is everything to collectors of vintage Barbies. Among other things, they shy away from dolls with neck splits, hair that has been cut or is missing plugs, lips whose color has faded or rubbed away, and ears and faces that have turned green because of a chemical reaction between the plastic and metal earrings.

The body should have all toes and fingers (pinkies are often broken off because they got snagged on clothing) and have an even color, with no stains, marks, scratches or gouges.

The outfits for early Barbies have embroidered black-and-white tags sewn into the lining. However, the real value of most vintage outfits comes from the tiny accessories. A vintage dress alone might be worth only a few dollars; with all of the accessories, an outfit's value could jump many times. Dolls and outfits that have never been removed from their original boxes are generally the most expensive and sought-after vintage Barbie items.

A good way to gauge current market prices for vintage Barbies, clothes and accessories is by checking completed sales on eBay, where many collectors turn for the best items. Be wary of antique malls. For every great find, there's a doll with green ears and an outrageous price tag.

Cesar Montano, Angelina and Barbie dolls


This story from the Philippines Daily Inquirer captures the power of Barbie. Have a pink day! Smooches, Vanessa


Last updated 09:54pm (Mla time) 10/12/2006

Published on page I3 of the October 13, 2006 issue of the Philippines Daily Inquirer

DID you know that as incentive, actor Cesar Montano dangled three Barbie dolls so that his daughter Angelina wouldn’t throw tantrums on the set of their TV commercial.

The TV ad’s staff also had a roomful of toys on stand by.

Needless to say, the shoot went smoothly.

* * *

WHAT'S HOT IN OLD TOYS


Posted on Fri, Oct. 13, 2006
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Toy buyer Joel Magee says many toys turn out to be worth more than their owners think, especially ones in good condition. Here's what's hot right now:

• Barbie -- A "No. 1" Barbie from 1959 can fetch $5,000 or more, depending on its condition. Other Barbies are valuable as well, particularly "ponytail" Barbies -- those with a top-knot ponytail and tightly curled bangs.
To tell if your Barbie is an original, look for several distinct features -- round holes with copper tubes in the bottom of her feet; eyes with black outlines and a bit of blue eye shadow; arched, not rounded, eyebrows; and irises that are white, not blue, as in later dolls. The No. 1 Barbie, the first one ever made, wore a black and white swimsuit.

• Hot Wheels -- Hot, hot, hot. Although not all Hot Wheels cars are valuable, the going rate for cars issued between 1968 and 1973 is between $40 and $100. Rarer cars can trade for $500 and more. (Again, though, condition is everything.)

• Metal lunch boxes -- Old-style tin lunch boxes, with or without the Thermos -- particularly those featuring television or movie characters

• Superheroes -- Anything featuring vintage Batman, Superman, Green Hornet, Avengers and the like

• "TV" toys -- Anything that features characters from television shows of the 1970s and earlier, such as "Lost in Space," "Leave it to Beaver," "Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Star Trek," "Gilligan's Island" and "The Addams Family"

• Saucy Walker dolls -- These dolls, manufactured by the Ideal toy company, can fetch hundreds of dollars. At a recent show in Topeka, Magee paid $500 for a Saucy Walker doll in the original box.

• Random parts -- Even broken toys can be valuable. Collectors often seek heads, limbs and random parts from vintage dolls, action figures or playsets to complete their collections.
UP AND COMERS

The toy market fluctuates greatly, so you never know what might turn out to be a hot collectible. Even so, Magee said some toys' value is almost certain to grow. Among them:

• Fisher-Price Little People (older wooden characters and playsets, as well as plastic ones from the 1970s and beyond)

• Star Wars action figures, playsets and anything related to the original movie

• Specialty dolls from the 1970s and beyond, such as Baby That-a-way and Cathy Quick-Curl

• Television character toys, such as Steve Austin ("Six Million Dollar Man")

DON'T BOTHER
Just because something is old doesn't mean it's valuable, Magee said. If a company makes millions of the same toy without changing it over the years, such as Monopoly, its value diminishes.
Here are some examples of toys you probably shouldn't bother getting appraised:

• Old board games, such as Monopoly and Scrabble

• Beanie Babies

• Generic versions of collectible dolls (most vintage dolls are identifiable by a distinct mark on the back of their necks)

• "Knockoff" toys, such as Lego-style building toys that aren't actually Legos.

• Riding toys such as rocking horses, tricycles and scooters, don't have much resale value, Magee said. Old pedal cars and tractors are more popular.

• Promotional or trinket dolls from the 1930s and '40s. Many of these dolls, such as the All-American Girl series, were given away as promotions in almost every small-town grocery store in the country, Magee said. They may be old and look "vintage," he said, but they're not rare.

I'm Back!


Okay, it's been a minute since I've posted to this blog. Just trying to keep all the balls in the air has been quite time consuming and energy zapping. My Barbie collection is a bit out of whack as I have dolls almost everywhere at home and in storage. I've purchased a few but not as many as in the past. this hobby is way too expensive and I really need to focus on other things like gaduate school, retirement planning and a consulting practice.

Have a pink day!

NOTE: I do not represent all of these photos as my own; these are photos of Barbie and other dolls that I find to be fabulous! If you are the actual photographer and would like to be credited, send me an e-mail.