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Thursday, December 20, 2007

History of the Barbie Doll

As I've gotten back into my Barbie collecting mode, I've been afforded opportunities to share the Barbie message with many people who were not aware of the depth of the Barbie phenomenon.

I'll start with a little Barbie history. Now at the outset let me make it clear that I am not an expert. I do know a lot about Barbie but I've not enjoyed attending a Barbie Convention or meeting in of the Barbie designers. I'll get to that in future posts.

Let's begin with an abbreviated history of Barbie.

Barbie: History of a Living Doll

Author: Sherril Steele-Carlin

Did you know the original Barbie was named for a real young lady from California named Barbara Handler? It's true! Barbie, the teen fashion doll that debuted in 1959 was created by Barbara's mom, Ruth Handler, who named the doll after her daughter and the rest is doll history.

It all started in the late 1950s, when Ruth Handler noticed that her young daughter, Barbara, and her friends really liked to play with adult dolls rather than the common baby dolls that were common at the time. These adult dolls weren't three-dimensional, they were all made out of cardboard or paper, so Ruth began to design a three-dimensional adult doll that would make her daughter and her friends happy.

Handler and her husband Elliot had created the Mattel Toy Company in their garage, but by the late 50s it had grown to include a group of ad executives who quickly vetoed Ruth's initial idea and design. They thought the doll would be too expensive to produce and had little long-term appeal. Now we know how wrong they were!

Undaunted, Ruth continued with her idea. She traveled to Europe and when she returned she brought a German doll named "Lilli" with her. Redesigned, Lilli became Barbie, and Ruth continued to pester the Mattel executives until they agreed to produce the doll. The original patent date is 1958. Ruth even hired a fashion designer, Charlotte Johnson, to create a fashionable wardrobe for the doll.

Barbie, with her distinctive blonde ponytail and black and white striped stretch bathing suit made her debut at the 1959 American Toy Fair in New York City, and took the toy world by storm. The dolls literally flew off the shelves. Mattel set a toy selling record the first year Barbie debuted, selling 351, 000 dolls the first year. In ten short years, parents would spend $500 million on Barbie products for their clamoring youngsters.

Barbie was the first fashion doll, and she spawned many spin-offs, but she and her "family" of dolls are simply the most popular in history. Barbie gets at least 100 new clothing designs every year, and because they produce so many Barbie outfits each year, Mattel has become the biggest garment manufacturer in the world.

Today, Barbie has come a long way from that fashion doll who debuted in 1959. She has sisters, a boyfriend, and represents nearly 100 different nationalities. However, collectors prize the original Barbie and her 50s wardrobe above all else. Barbie and her clothing are one of the most popular collectibles in the world today, and a mint-condition original Barbie can sell as high as $10,000. So, check the attic, the basement, and the storage boxes for your old Barbie treasures. They could be more valuable than you think, and even if they aren't, they'll bring back lots of fond fashion memories!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Downsizing my Barbie collection

I received the Hollywood Hostess Barbie in the mail last week. Because of the packaging of the Silkstone dolls, I was able to remove the top of the display box to get a better look at it. I like the doll's hairstyle and much of the outfit. I'm not feeling the white sandals but I guess Mattel's options were limited. I would have preferred a similar style sandal but perhaps in a bronze color.

I want to keep the doll in the box but I'd love to redress the Lingerie No. 5 Barbie or the Sunday Best Barbie in these outfits. I popped online to the Barbie collector site and voila', it's sold out. I did find the doll on the My Favourite Doll site. I'd love to buy it now but I don't want to pay the $100 plus shipping.

I'm going to try to resist the urge. There was a time I'd have purchased it without a thought but I'm trying to be a better steward of my finances. As a matter of fact, I'm going to start selling some of my collection again.

I'm focusing my collection on Silkstone and Byron Lars dolls. I may keep a few of the Bob Mackies but for the most part, they must go. Be sure to visit this site again or e-mail me if you're interested in a particular Barbie.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Look-a-Like: Alice in Wonderland Barbie

I don't particularly care for some of the characters in the Alice in Wonderland Barbie line I am particularly intrigued with the Alice in Wonderland doll. Is it just me or does she not resemble Charo? I'd like to see the actual doll rather than the prototype.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What's your fashion style?

I am so feeling these Stuart Weitzman shoes. The list price is $270 but rhey're on sale for $130. Unfortunately, they're only available in 8.5 or 10 and I wear 9. Arrrgh!

My friends call my taste boring but I like what I like. A pair of tastefully ripped jeans are cool as long as they're paired with a crisp white shirt. Too short. too tight tight and too much skin doesn't work for me. A sexy split? Definitely, yes. But hoochification? I think not.

That discussion of my choice in shoes led me to the quiz below on fashion style. I think it is a rather accurate description of my taste. Classic clothing doesn't go out of style so my purchases are more like investments.

I can totally picture those shoes with khakis, a white blouse, brown belt, my brown Coach hobo purse, pink scarf to pull my locks in a ponytail and tortoise shell Ray-Bans.

Take the quiz and see what your fashion style is.

Your Fashion Style is Classic

You like what's stood the test of time...

Simple, well styled clothes that don't scream trendy

You stay updated and modern, but your clothes stay in style for a while

You wouldn't be caught in animal prints, fake fur, or super bright colors

Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

Today is World AIDS Day. More than 30 million people have this condition. Will it ever end?

Too many children throughout the world have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS. Millions of children growing up without parents is definitely not a healthy mental environment for the world's citizens. There are consequences for all of us.

HIV can be spread through sexual contact, through blood transfusion, through contaminated needles and the breast milk of an infected mother. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate against ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.

In memory of those who have passed away because of AIDS, I say I am sorry for the pain you had to endure. I apologize for my fellow humans who may have subjected you to physical and emotional pain, especially through isolation and stigmatization.

Let us continue to support efforts to find a cure for AIDS and to support organizations that help to bring comfort to the victims of HIV/AIDS.

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.