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February 2009
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Happy Birthday Barbie – She Turns Fifty This Year!

America’s favorite plastic sweetheart turns fifty this year and she has never looked better!  According to the new book, Barbie and Ruth by Robin Gerber, there was much resistance to developing such a grown up doll.  Ruth Handler, a co-founder of Mattel along with her husband Elliot, wanted to create a sophisticated doll to replace the flimsy paper fashion dolls that were popular at the time.  Her husband was against the idea, saying that “no mother is going to buy her daughter a doll with breasts.”

Apparently he was wrong since Barbie is now the best selling doll in the world.  Along with her sister Skipper, friends Midge and Francie, and sometime boyfriend Ken, Barbie has inspired girls of all ages to dream and to celebrate their girlhood.  Speaking for myself, Barbie motivated me to develop my sewing and design skills as a child.  I have many happy memories of sitting at the sewing machine creating fanciful new fashions for my dolls.

Be sure to watch for her new look as Mattel has promised her fans a makeover for Barbie’s birthday.  Tim Gunn of Project Runway says “the clothes she wore 50 years ago are vintage now. She should take those original outfits and have them tailored and updated.”

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