Friday, March 13, 2009

Look who's 50 with a lifty? Be kind, not a day over 29.

March 9,1959, I wasn't around yet, but I know it was a big deal for Barbie. It's her birthday and she is 50 this year. The above picture is what she looked like when released, her creator, Ruth Handler, a shrewd believer in Barbie, marketed a "teen aged fashion model" at New York's Annual American Toy Fair. The namesake is inspired after the Handler's daughter's, Barbara Joyce.

Throughout the first decade of Barbie, many icons and Hollywood scarlets have influenced how she dressed. Grace Kelly, a very elegant lady, had a big role in the "Enchanted Evening" attire.

And Jackie Kennedy inspired the classic wardrobe she was so demure in wearing.
I can't help but notice Barbie is blond in this photo!

By the seventies, sales had dropped and Barbie sustained another redesign, she became "MOD" and so did much of her friends and family. Non traditional careers were added to her vast line of work, Barbie was a Surgeon! The decade of the sixties saw Barbie as a ballerina, stewardess, nurse, graduate career girl and candy stripper volunteer.

The eighties, ah, the eighties, I remember them well! Big hair and glitz and Barbie was no exception. Calvin Klein came on board the Barbie band to design flashy gowns in deep hues and golden glitter! Must be nice! The "World Collection" is started on the market, Barbie was multicultural including a Eskimo and Royal Barbie (England).

The nineties created a much sleeker version of Barbie, she also became a force in the navy, marines, presidential candidate, police officer and baseball player. A hearty switch from the 70's and 80's where she was a Olympic athlete, skier, aerobic instructor, UNICEF ambassador, oh and yah, she was in the Army first, 1989!
Bob Makie and Bill Blass......more pricey designers.

I wanted to mention another release of Barbie, she was made in the mid nineties, if memory serves me right, she was a 'ordinary' version. Mattel was having a lot of feedback about Barbie having an unrealistic, unobtainable figure and decided a closer hero of little girls would be a doll with wider hips and less chest. She wasn't on the market long because little girls didn't want them! Sales declined, and so much for parents opinions on the matter.

I think she looks regal in the 2000's, although 50 this year she still looks very fresh, spirited, and friendly while appearing mature and experienced. By now Barbie has had two boyfriends.
Mattel has released "Anniversary Barbie" to celebrate Barbie turning 50, they are also pricing her single boxed version (no accessories) at $3.00 this week, the original price she sold for in 1959. Normally $13.00.
What will the century celebration bring? C&G Design


Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

She doesn't look a day over 21! I was 2 when she was born, according to your research;-) I am wondering where in Maine you live? I went to h.s. in Cape Elizabeth, and met my husband at UMO. His family all live in Maine (Bangor; Dover-Foxcroft; and Brunswick). I love Maine--though I must say I'm not missing the snow;-) My husband & son went ice-fishing in Feb at his parents camp in 'Bowerbank', on Sebec Lake. They had a great time!!

tina said...

I agree with Jan, she doesn't look a day over 21! We should all age so well.

Jean said...

Oh if only.....oh well....maybe in my next life!!!

Kathleen said...

I remember my first Barbie so well. (wish I still had her....who knew?) My Mom bought her for me in 1959...the year she was first manufactured. I used to save my allowance to buy her clothes...outfits sold for $1.25 then. I had the brunette, and of course she had the "Solo in the Spotlight" gown. Thak you Dawn for taking us down memroy lane, and a history of my favorite girl! PS She really did like G I Joe better than Ken! hugs, Kathleen

kari and kijsa said...

She doesn't look anywhere near a half century old!
kari & kijsa

Pearl Maple said...

Happy Birthday Barbie,
she does look good for her age doesen't she?

Found your link on the New England blogger list and really enjoyed reading your posts for a little flavour of home. Thanks for sharing.

Skeeter said...

Gosh, Hope I look that good at 50. ROFLOL...