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Barbie® turned 50 last year much to the chagrin of those who never liked her to begin with but for those of us who always found fun in her look and outfits it comes as a surprise. She looks so young doesn’t she ? Who would know that she’s had just about any worthwhile profession under the sun you can name and yet still has time for dressing and playing the part of model, superstar, actress and singer? You know, she reminds me of someone. She’s gone through a myriad of transformations over the years that reflect current fashions, body types and her face has been changed continually.
Merchandising her look on a myriad of products was always a part of the game for this living doll. I remember the lunchboxes, heads you could style (like wig heads !), toy guitars, and all those outrageous and beautiful outfits. She had all kinds of houses and apartments, cars and equipment (microphones, guitars etc.) There was also her boyfriend, Ken, her little sister Stacy and even a friend called Midge. My aunt, Barbara, (no laughing please !) made outfits by hand for my cousin Stephanie and my Barbie Dolls. It was rather fun to have something for Barbie that no one else could buy. This will show you the acceptability of this Mattel toy, universally. Of course you would want to be just like Barbie when you grew up!
I still have an 80s Barbie on my vanity table. She’s in a sporty workout outfit with matching tennis shoes, visor and her hair is insanely long ! I don’t remember having every accessory or gadget but you just weren’t happening if you didn’t have at least one dwelling and the obligatory friends and family I just mentioned. The outfits you chose were your identity. Even today the merchandising is amazing. There are the videos, skateboards, active outfits and you can now buy matching outfits for your daughter to match Barbie ranging in sizes fit for little girls to teens. Barbie has a toddler named Kelly and she has so many life accessories I’ve lost count. Recently, a new doll called the Barbie Video Girl Doll ™ ($50)has shown up on the scene. She looks like a sporty-dressed pony-tailed blonde with the added feature of a pendant which takes videos. That’s right. Little girls may not just be acting out some strange game with her Barbie Doll- she just might be videotaping you! Powered with 2 AAA batteries, the doll can record up to a half hour of webcam-quality AVI with a 3-button interface. The screen to watch the action is on her back and it looks like a backpack. These videos can be transferred by mini-USB cables to any desktop or laptop but audio is not available. The doll can be posed so she rather doubles as a decoy tripod. You have been warned ! She is a marketing phenomenon beyond what anyone could have ever imagined. She’s unstoppable and she’s still adorable.
If you think there are no big bucks surrounding her legacy, here’s one for you: On October 20th the most expensive Barbie Doll will be up for auction in New York for an estimated $300,000 to 500,000 ! Why? This curvaceous, custom-designed doll has a necklace featuring a 1-carat pink diamond which jeweler Stefano Canturi designed along with the outfit. It is specially cut along with smaller white diamonds totaling 3 carats for that authentic rich movie star look. Prior to this, the highest record for an auctioned Barbie Doll was $17,091 in 2006 also at Christie’s in London.
It’s no wonder that she’s become a standard that most real women would find impossible to keep up with but we always knew she was exceptional in every respect. We expect all that and that her hair will stay perfectly in place. Avon has gotten in on the act this year by becoming the exclusive seller of the holiday Rose Splendor™ Barbie (in Caucasian and African American) with a dress designed by Robert Best. It’s absolutely darling and I guarantee that at the price they’re selling for (39.99 but regularly 49.99 ) it may be the hottest-selling holiday item this year! She is considered the Most Collectible Doll in the World® and if you have a considerable collection by the time you reach your teens you could have a veritable fortune on your hands if the dolls are in their original packaging. Some of the collectibles have been limited editions and you won’t believe the size of even young girls’ collections. I am amazed at the longevity of the continued popularity. It says a lot about what we prize and our priorities.
Keep reaching for that brass ring….
The Castle Lady