Barbie: Iconic Fashion Dolls
Barbie has been an iconic toy since she was first produced in 1959. Children from all walks of life have enjoyed the many versions of this popular doll, who has been portrayed as a flight attendant, a veterinarian, an astronaut, a doctor, a teacher, a mermaid, and numerous other professions and lifestyles.
Mattel, Inc. is the manufacturer of the Barbie doll line. Ruth Handler, the wife of Elliot Handler, one of the co-founders of the Mattel, Inc. toy company, devised the idea of a poseable adult doll for children while observing her daughter's fascination with paper dolls. After seeing a similar type of poseable doll while traveling in Europe, the Bild Lilli doll, Ruth Handler paired with Jack Ryan to engineer the first Barbie doll, which debuted at the International Toy Fair in 1959. 350,000 dolls were produced the first year of production, and the Mattel, Inc. toy company has been the manufacturer of Barbie playsets ever since.
Types of Barbie Dolls
Barbie is now available in several body shapes and skin tones to allow all children to see themselves in their dolls. Barbie is also accompanied by several friends and siblings, which can be purchased separately or as part of a set. Barbie characters include:
Ken: Introduced in 1961, Ken is Barbie’s long-term boyfriend. He is available in a variety of skin tones, eye colors, and professions. Most Ken dolls have molded plastic hair, but some dolls have featured soft hair like Barbie’s.
Skipper: Barbie’s younger sister was introduced in 1964. Skipper was originally two inches shorter than Barbie, but has varied in height over the years. Like her sister, she is available with several hair color options.
Stacie: Stacie is another Barbie sister. She is smaller than Skipper and comes in fewer variations. She was introduced as part of the Dreamhouse Adventures TV series in 2018.
Chelsea: Chelsea is the smallest of Barbie’s sisters. At 5.5 inches tall, she is styled to look like a young child in a variety of skin tones and eye colors. Her accessories are more child-focused than those of her older sisters.
Since her introduction, Barbie has been prized as a collectible. You can find a selection of vintage, new-in-box, and collectible dolls on eBay. In addition, Mattel releases limited edition Barbie dolls each year. Current collectibles include:
Holiday Barbie: Each winter holiday season, Mattel releases a holiday Barbie wearing a ballgown.
Anniversary Barbie: Mattel released a special Barbie for her 60th anniversary. The 75th anniversary doll released in December, 2019.
Designer Dolls: Several fashion designers have created limited edition Barbie dolls, including Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, Bob Mackie, Christian Dior, and Christian Louboutin. These dolls are prized by collectors and quickly sell out each year.
What Barbie doll collection would be complete without her wide range of accessories? The most popular items include:
Dreamhouse: The Barbie Dreamhouse is Barbie’s home. It has taken on a variety of styles over the years, but is the perfect dollhouse for any Barbie lover.
Vehicles: Barbie’s tradermark car is a pink convertible, but she also has a scooter, a boat, a camper, and a helicopter.
Pets: As an animal lover, Barbie has taken care of a number of pets over the years, including dogs, cats, and horses.
Career Playsets: Each career Barbie has a matching playset to help kids experience that role. For example, a veterinarian set includes a couple of pets, an exam table, and exam tools. A bakery owner set includes small baked goods, a display stand, and a cash register.
Fashion accessories: Changing her clothes is the most fun part of Barbie play. Barbie has a full range of dresses, pants, shirts, skirts, shorts, career wear, shoes, jewelry, purses, bags, and more to complete any Barbie look or imaginative play scenario.
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