Barbie, Fashion Icon of the 60's
|Posted by Teresa on July 30, 2010 at 8:09 PM|
This is my first post in a blog, any blog. And I would never have believed I would be blogging on my own vintage Barbie site! I was NOT a doll collecting person, not at all whatsoever, no way, never considered it. In fact, my main hobbies have been music--classical piano--also I've written a novel which actually had the rights bought by a film producer, but then never to be produced. (I suspect I'm in good company there.) I also love science, especially evolutionary biology.
What happened? A smattering of history: As a little girl of 6, I received a blonde Barbie doll, Ponytail (that's all they made at that point around 1960). I think she was a #4 in retrospect, as I seem to remember soft poodle bangs. I loved her, drove my mother crazy with my incessant asking for the newest fashion that Mattel would come out with, and played with her until, no doubt, her eyebrows came off and her hair was a disaster. Nevertheless, she managed to attract a Ken--the one with black fuzzy hair. (He later began balding in a most peculiar pattern.) Also a brunette Midge became Barbie's best friend. Midge was always sporting freckles and a goofy grin, and was clearly not a competitor for Barbie's sultry, side-glancing model's face. However, she could wear the same outfits, fortunately!
I probably whined that my blonde Barbie was beginning to look a bit the worse for wear, so my mom finally gave in to buying me a new one, a Platinum Bubblecut with the latest look--pink lips, and a huge bouffant hairdo befitting 1963. She was the sole survivor of Mom's streak of generosity when, probably around 1970, she gave all my Barbies away except the Platinum.
Whom I discovered in Mom's old cedar chest, along with several outfits (I had "Modern Art"--!) about two years ago. I took her home, marveled at how fab she looked for being 46 years old, and later sent her to have her somewhat worn lipstick and her brows retouched by Krista. She returned to me looking absolutely new! (Her portrait is in the "Close-Up" page, and she models "Mood for Music" on the Runway "Bubbles" page.)
...So I started to watch "Mad Men" on AMG every Sunday, and noticed all those same fab fashions on those incredibly gorgeous people--and I was hooked. I discovered ebay has a huge Barbie section, and off I went. I now have about twenty dolls (not so many, really), and they are as close to mint as I can afford (oh yes, you can spend $7000 on one dolly if you want).
Every one of them is different, despite their being the same or similar in terms of the molds their little heads were made from, or the stencils they did the faces with. Each one personifies a fashion look all her own, from 1959 to 1966.
I never would have predicted this. A Barbie collector, moi? I'm even a little embarrassed to say, I have at times considered my self at least a wannabe intellectual, and Barbie simply does not seem to fit that mold. Note I say "seem", because while one does not have to aspire to the wisdom of the sage to appreciate Vintage Barbie, when a good close look is taken at the fashion doll icon and her surrounding hype/pop culture/milieu, much can be gleaned! (Really!)
Not an excuse for sheer silliness or indulgent play, but a good reason to collect, drink in the beauty of "retro" midcentury fashion and have just plain fun.