Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guest Blogger: Wesley Mosteller- "Life Imitating Barbie"


Life Imitating Barbie


Hello and thank you for taking the time to view this new section of our website entitled "Life Imitating Barbie".

This is a comparative section that will delve as deep as possible into the times and inspiration that went into creating what is almost if not completely in-arguably the most famous and celebrated and sadly at times controversial doll in modern society's history. A rather "which came first the chicken or the egg" blog, if you will.

Some of you may or may not know that the original creator of Barbies original wardrobe, Charlotte Johnson, answered a simple ad for "Fashion designer wanted" that made no mention of this being for a doll's wardrobe. I have always found this truly fascinating. And make no mistake this was very well planned and thought out by Ruth Handler who is credited with the very inception of a concept doll like Barbie. Ruth simply wanted to insure that the hired designer would have an instant feel for her desire to create a "three dimensional paper doll" with a very accurate and life like wardrobe and not simply a "dolly" type wardrobe.

As Dickens himself is credited with saying "They were the best of times, they were the worst of times". So with that in mind let us travel back in time to the last 6 months of 1959 shall we?

Awwww -  spring and summertime - a time for teenagers to prepare for another school year's end. A time for picnics, a sock hop on a Saturday night. Hanging out at the local drive in enjoying a hamburger and a malted with friends. Possibly if allowed, a simple cruise up and down the strip to show off our freshly polished vehicles, chrome and all! These were the times that our precious girl was born into. But not all was so perfect - our girl was also born into a time when the threat of an atomic war was very real. A time when building with, or adding a bomb shelter was not out of the question.

It is within this time period that at the 1959 Toy Fair our girl was "discovered" like many other a starlet. She was ill received at first but by the very end of that calendar year there would be a "shot" heard round the world that would echo for generations to come.

With these thoughts in mind please enjoy some inspirational art pieces and vintage advertisements that are so similar to our lovely and cherished doll. I have included items that remind me of how our Barbie's make-up ideas may have come about and fashions also. Some are of course not identical but the inspiration is still visible.





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