Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vintage Barbies

I never liked Barbie as a child, but I decided to take another look at her this year, during her 50th birthday hoopla marketing blitz. After all, I reasoned, what toy collection can hope to call itself reasonably comprehensive without a Barbie or two?

First I came across a big pile of vintage 1959-1963 Barbie clothes at a local antique mall, being sold for only a few dollars each, and I was surprised to see how beautifully they were made. The coats have full linings, there are tiny little zippers and toggle buttons, and every piece features more careful and precise stitching than is seen in most grown-up clothes today.

After I got the clothes, it didn't take long to find a few dolls to go with them. I started as close to the beginning as I could, with a blonde Barbie #3 from 1960 (pictured above and below). She has a solid body, vinyl that has faded to an ivory tone, and a very brightly made-up 1950s couture face.

I also got a blonde ponytail Barbie #5 from 1961, to see how Mattel continued to change the design (this is actually a rather interesting thing to observe) and a red-headed version of the first Bubblecut Barbie, from the same year. The Bubblecut came with a trunk and some more clothes and shoes, which she is graciously sharing with her sisters.

Another happy surprise was finding that Barbie is in perfect scale with my 1950s Marx and Ideal robots, who are enjoying having someone to menace...

1 comment:

  1. I can identify with your growing interest, as a kid I had 6 ,lost them in a fire-when I was almost grown, and have taken up with them again(Silkstones though so far).I think what amazes me is how beautiful it is despite the size.Now that I'm an adult and know more about their history I also want a Bild Lili ,it just never ends .Then there's the clothes ,the houses,the cars,the friends,the Kens,the horses,Oh dear!