Barbie through the ages, 1959 - 2009
"Barbie" is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc.; "Fashion Royalty" and "Candi" are registered trademarks of Integrity Toys, Inc.
Marcdolls are not affiliated in any way with the manufacturers of these dolls, or any other doll manufacturer.

The photos and text of the entire contents of this web site are copyright of Marcdolls, 2000-2013, in Watt / Switzerland, and may not be used without special written permission.


Index:

Bild-Lilli, Barbie's predecessor

Barbie's Introduction

Barbie's early history

Barbie's biography

Barbie the doll

Barbie's Manufacturers Markings

Barbie's controversies

Barbie's friends and relatives

Ethnic Barbie's

Barbie's fashion

Barbie luxury doll to massproduction

Barbie as collectors object

Silkstone Barbie doll

How to care Barbie's head?

How to care Barbie's body?

How to care Barbie's clothes?

Barbie versus Bratz

Dolls of the My Scene-line

The five different collector types

Glossary of Abbreviations

Miscellaneous


 

 

 
1957 / Barbie History
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“Barbie has always represented that a woman has choices. Even in her
early years, Barbie did not have to settle for only being Ken’s girlfriend
or an inveterate shopper. She had the clothes, for example, to launch a
career as a nurse, a stewardess, a nightclub singer. I believe the choices
Barbie represents helped the doll catch on initially, not just with daughters–
who would one day make up the first major wave of women in management
and professionals– but also with mothers.”
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Ruth and Elliot Handler founded Mattel Creations in 1945, and 14 years later,
Ruth Handler gave the world the Barbie doll. When asked her relationship to
Barbie, Ruth simply replied, "I'm Barbie's mom."
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The inspiration for Barbie came as Ruth watched her daughter Barbara
playing with paper dolls. Barbara and her friends used them to play adult
or teenage make-believe, imagining roles as college students, cheerleaders
and adults with careers. Ruth immediately recognized that experimenting
with the future from a safe distance through pretend play was an important
part of growing up. She also noticed a product void and was determined to
fill that niche with a three-dimensional fashion doll.
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Several years and many designs later, Mattel introduced Barbie, the Teen-Age
Fashion Model, to skeptical toy buyers at the annual Toy Fair in New York on
March 9. 1959. Never before had they seen a doll so completely unlike the
baby and toddler dolls popular at the time.
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Today, with a professional resume, thicker than a phonebook, a circle of friends that rival any social network and a community of caring that spans the globe, Barbie continues to find new ways to inspire and encourage the next generation of girls.
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1959 / Reflection of the Times
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Barbie Millicent Roberts from Willows, Wisconsin was introduced to a skeptical toy industry at the New York Toy Fair. A gallon of gas was 25 cents, the average annual wage was $5,000 and the #1 Ponytail Barbie sold for $3.00. Additional fashions based on the latest runway trends from Paris ranged from $1.00 to $5.00. In the first year, 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold. The very first Barbie is named:
«Ponytail Nr. 1». She comes as a blonde or a brunette and has a ponytail hairstyle. A distinct substantial makeup and attractive female shapes are her trademarks.
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Fashion
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The very first Barbie doll made a splash at New York Toy Fair sporting her famous ponytail hairstyle, eye-popping black-and-white bathing suit, stylish open-toed shoes, too-cool shades and golden hoop earrings. Fabulous fashions with delicate details were sold separately– priced from $1.00 to $5.00 – so girls could truly play fashion show with their “teenage fashion model” of a doll.
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Beauty
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Barbie’s debut as the “teenage fashion model” mirrored the sophisticated glamour of 1950s stars like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor, donning high arched brows, pursed red lips, a sassy pony tail with curly bangs and a coy, sideways glance. Even her figure was high fashion and model-esque, with pale, ivory skin, long slim legs and a narrow waist and hips. Barbie– though well known for her blonde locks– was sold as both a brunette and blonde.
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1960 / Reflection of the Times
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The first female astronaut, Russian Valentina Tereshkova surfaced in 1963 and Barbie soon followed, celebrating the excitement of the space program while showing girls that any career is within reach. Four years later in 1969, the first American man landed on the moon.
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As the Beatles led the “British Invasion,” Twist N Turn Barbie could twist at the waist for dancing fun and her British cousin Stacey joined the following year and even “spoke” with a delightful British accent.
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1967
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Twist ‘N Turn Barbie doll’s new, moveable body donned a stylish bright orange bikini similar to the one model Marilyn Tindall wore in that year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Barbie gets a new designed face, with slightly open lips, painted or rooted eyelashes.
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Fashion
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As fast as 60s fashions evolved, so did Barbie from her famous bouffant bubble-cut hairstyle and fashions that mirrored First Lady Jackie Kennedy to the sleek hair and clothes of the multi-colored, swirling Mod era.
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Beauty
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The 60s were a beauty trifecta for Barbie. At the dawn of the decade and a social revolution, her chic, stylish looks echoed that of strong, internationally renowned women like Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy. In 1960 Barbie sported softer looking eye makeup, a less arched eyebrow and blue irises for the first time. Also her famous bouffant bubble-cut hairstyle and fashions that mirrored First Lady Jackie Kennedy to the sleek hair and clothes of the multi-colored, swirling Mod era.
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1970 / Reflection of the Times
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Shortly after Woodstock, Barbie dons "Flower Power" bell-bottoms and the Barbie Country Camper travels to the great outdoors as “the youth” become more inspired by nature.
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1972
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Title IX of the Education Amendment is passed, prohibiting sex discrimination in education, athletics, drama, band or other extracurricular student activities, giving girls equal rights to be in any class and on any field.
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1975
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Barbie becomes an Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, figure skating and downhill skiing, a year before Dorothy Hamill’s historic gold medal win in Innsbruck.
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1977
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This is the Year when Superstar-Barbie was born. She sports a wide smile and has big eyes. From now Barbie is sold for many Years exclusively with blonde hair.
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Fashion
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From "Flower Power" to "girl power" to fun-in-the-sun-power, Barbie doll’s diverse style reflected the 70s alternative lifestyles. Skirts went from mini to maxi and hair had a new flair– long and loose.
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Malibu Barbie made everyone “wish they all could be California girls…” Tan with shimmering, straight blonde hair, her simple blue tricot bathing suit with yellow beach towel and quintessential pink sunglasses could have been the genesis of the Beach Boys’ hit song.
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Superstar Barbie (with arm candy Ken doll) claimed the disco spotlight with glitz, glitter and over-the-top polyester-glam. The trés-chic complement to her flowing, fuchsia dress- an all-new Star ‘Corvette - car.
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Beauty
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Family sitcoms and detective dramas became Friday night staples in the '70s, and a new era of TV glam began to muscle-in on traditional fashion magazines. With their “hair of gold,” the “Brady Bunch” put the casual, outdoorsy California lifestyle on the map and the first Malibu Barbie (1971) gave girls across the nation a chance to imagine life in the sun and sand. Malibu Barbie debuted with a new face sculpt, including the addition of an open smile with pearly white teeth, and thanks to the grounds of the feminist movement and female empowerment, her sparkling blue eyes faced-forward for the first time. Malibu Barbie was the ultimate surfer girl– suntanned with long, straight hair.
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“Charlie’s Angels” was breaking barriers on and off the small screen, when Barbie emerged with her own secret weapon– a third major face change as Superstar Barbie in 1977. She had a wide smile and fuller hair, blue shimmer eye shadow, brightly painted eyes, and pale pink lip gloss that were in-step with the glittering disco glam look found gyrating on dance floors across the country.
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1980 / Reflection of the Times
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1981, MTV debuts and forever changes the music industry. In 1986, Barbie has her own band– Barbie and the Rockers (shown here)– and she rocks the ‘80s scene with big hair, big shoulder pads and all the other fashion faux pas we’d like to forget from the decade.
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1989
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Barbie joined the Army, a year before the Gulf War begins. To ensure Barbie authentically represented the military, her uniform was approved by the Pentagon.
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1989
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UNICEF is appointed as the UN body responsible for the rights of children; Barbie takes the world stage as UNICEF Ambassador Barbie.
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Fashion
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Like everything in the '80s, the style of Barbie was, like, totally bold and so totally excessive. MTV sparked a new youth movement and the decade’s fads and fashions were broadcast around the globe.
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Barbie & The Rockers took shoulder pads, scrunchies, big belts and leggings to a whole new level. Move over Madonna... neon never looked so good.
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Shattering the glass ceiling, Day to Night Barbie became a briefcase-carrying power executive-by-day and couture-inspired, ultra sophisticate by night, reflecting the popularity of nighttime soap operas like “Dynasty.”
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Beauty
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As supermodels like Kim Alexis, Carol Alt and Paulina Porizkova went from the runway to the highway on advertising billboards, Angel Face Barbie became the newest Barbie in 1983. She had a delicate face with large, round eyes, pale skin and long, sun streaked hair.
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Additionally, a decade before the multi-cultural beauty trend took hold, Barbie was introduced in two new ethnicities. For the first time, African-American Barbie– sporting gorgeous golden makeup– and Hispanic Barbie were introduced.
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1990 / Reflection of the Times
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1992: Inspired by Geraldine Ferraro’s historic Vice Presidential selection, Barbie ran for the Oval Office for the first time.
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1998
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A year after the WNBA beat all odds and began its first basketball season, WNBA Basketball Player Barbie took to the courts. It was a breakthrough sports year for Barbie as she got behind the wheel as a NASCAR driver, 10 years before Danica Patrick’s historical Indy Car win in 2008.
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Fashion
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The “fab five” of the '90s now refers to Cindy (Crawford), Linda (Evangelista), Claudia (Schiffer), Naomi (Campbell) and Christy (Turlington) whose ultra-glam lifestyle reflected the pace of the decade’s race to the new millennium.
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Shoulder pads were still big but hair was even bigger with teased bangs and perms. Totally Hair Barbie (shown here), the best-selling Barbie doll to date, celebrated the “big hair” craze and loud fashions of the early 90s. The doll featured the longest locks ever for Barbie, measuring 10½ inches.
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With the new millennium just around the corner, Generation Girl Barbie took on a new sassy, edgy, street-fashion look.
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Beauty
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Barbie was ready to celebrate the ‘90s with two new faces. Barbie doll’s first new look of the decade featured a closed mouth and smaller, more realistic eyes. Her second look featured open smiling lips with wide eyes looking ahead. Celeb-watchers said, oops, she did it again, drawing comparisons to her straight, blonde hair, toned-down make-up and rosy lips with those of a much more innocent teen pop star.
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2000 / Reflection of the Times
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In a time of celebrity power couples, makeups and breakups, Barbie created a bigger worldwide scandal when she broke up with long-time boyfriend, Ken than when mega-celebs Britney & Justin and Ben & J.Lo cut ties a few weeks earlier.
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After more than 20 Years Superstar-Barbie gets a facelifting here face is less rounded and her grin is more natural.
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2003
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Barbie’s body is modifided, abdomen and legs are shorter and the waist became wider.
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2007
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Building on the popularity of the iPod Shuffle, Barbie introduced a completely new doll-shaped MP3 player with removable, snap-on fashions and the ability to link girls into barbiegirls.com, the first-ever virtual world designed just for girls.
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2008
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Two years after “An Inconvenient Truth” hit movie theaters, Barbie introduced a collection of eco-friendly accessories for girls.
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Fashion
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Girl power is in full swing and girls began to put their own personal stamp on style. And speaking of style, it was bold, beautiful and all about denim.
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As the fashion world became more body conscious, so did Barbie. Jewel Girl Barbie underwent a millennial makeover featuring a new, more athletic physique, a bendable, flexible waist and her first belly button. Always ready for a party, her hipster slim pants, crop top and fresh-colored pastel jacket could go from day to night in a flash. Bring on that personal touch– her stick-on fashion jewels allowed girls to customize the outfit or accessorize their own rock star-inspired look.
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Barbie and MAC cosmetics reset the global style agenda again with the Barbie Loves MAC doll whose fashion palate “tie-dyed denim” wash jeans are paired with high black faux suede boots.
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Beauty
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2000: The new millennium gave everyone a chance to reset and re-evaluate. Jewel Girl brought Barbie natural looking makeup and featured the gentle open smile introduced the previous year. Her two-toned blonde hair was long and loose, and could be styled in a variety of ways.
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2009 / Reflection of the Times
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From Fashion Week to Facebook to a fun-in-the-sun-tastic party at her Malibu Dream House, Barbie celebrates her anniversary year long, bringing in Hollywood’s and fashion’s hottest to the festivities. For her 50th birthday Barbie gets another facelift. Some modifications are kept secret, but most certainly she will be joined by new designed replica dolls from her first Years.
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Fashion
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Fresh from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Barbie once again tops the best-dressed list, kicking off yet another fabulous decade of style. Wearing the season’s hottest looks and carrying all the “in” accessories, 50 never looked so good.
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Beauty
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What’s a 50th birthday without a makeover of some sort? Like all birthday girls, Barbie looks forward to surprising her fans, friends and family with her new birthday look.
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Family and Friends
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Barbie’s family tree may look like a giant Sequoia, but the Barbie Dream House always has room for friends and family, including:
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Ken
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“Barbie's on-again, off-again boyfriend”
Ken was introduced as Barbie’s arm candy in 1961. Starting out with nine outfits, a skinny frame and fuzzy crew cut, he’s always stood by Barbie, despite headline-generating break-ups.
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Midge
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“Barbie's best friend”
Midge has been Barbie’s BFF since 1963. Barbie was even Midge's maid-of-honor at her wedding to Alan in 1991.
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Skipper, Tutti, Stacie, Kelly, Krissy
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“Barbie's younger sisters”
Skipper (introduced in 1964), Tutti ('66), Stacie ('92), Kelly ('95) and baby sister Krissy ('99).
Barbie also has a brother, Todd ('66) and famous cousins MOD Francie ('66) and Jazzie ('89).
In fall 2009, Skipper comes back from boarding school to celebrate with Barbie!
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Christie, Teresa, Kira & Kayla, Becky
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“Barbie's gal pals”
Barbie’s inner circle has always reflected the diversity in the real world. As early as 1968, Barbie’s African American friend Christie was introduced and, over the years, Hispanic, Asian and multi-ethnic friends Teresa, Kira and Kayla dolls joined the group. Barbie has also had friends with wheelchairs (Becky) and eyeglasses.
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Fashion & Beauty
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Barbie isn’t just another pretty face– she actually has a lot of pretty faces– seven different skin tones to be exact. And, with a team of talented hair stylists and makeup artists, the beauty of Barbie is constantly refined so she’s always picture perfect.
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Barbie’s hair comes in seven different shades of blonde, woven together in various combinations to achieve highlights or lowlights. Her legendary locks are rooted with a special sewing machine called a “Dolly” and then professionally trimmed and styled, strand by strand, to create today’s chic-est styles.
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After her hair is rooted, brushed and styled, Barbie is placed in a customized heating machine to set her hairstyle– much like how a dome hair dryer is used in hair salons.
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What’s in her beauty bag?
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Barbie’s hair is styled with hair gel exclusively formulated for her. Barbie’s best hair tool is a paintbrush and water, perfect for flyaway hairs for close-up headshots.
Bad hair day?
Even Barbie gets tangled up. A light conditioner and water does the trick to manage her mane. A true fashionista never leaves her house without makeup and the same goes for the most well-known fashionista of them all. When creating a new Barbie face (a prototype to be put into production), up to 15 fine artists work on Barbie doll’s face using water-based acrylics and tiny sable brushes to paint one of the most widely- recognized faces in the world.
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It’s all about blending. Every color used on Barbie doll’s face is applied in thin “washes” so no brush mark is obvious. The process takes up to 3 hours. Although Barbie is known for her vibrant and colorful makeup, brown is still her favorite eye shadow and worn the most frequently. In fact, Barbie has more than 300 different shades of brown in her beauty kit.
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Barbie Facts
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- Barbie’s real name is Barbie Millicent Roberts
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- Barbie is from Willows, Wisconsin. She attended Willows High School
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- Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, brought her vision of a three-dimensional doll to life with the introduction of Barbie in 1959
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- Barbie first appeared in the now-famous black-and-white striped swimsuit and signature ponytail
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- Barbie has four sisters: Skipper (1964), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1995)
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- 1964 was a good year for Barbie. The first pet was a grey Poodle in a set called “Dog ‘n Duds, stock #480 and #1613” features this cute dog, made out of wool type material. The poodle is about 4” long and 3” high. Like Barbie with her many outfits and accessories, her poodle has “Duds” as well. The set comes with 2 leashes with collars, a bowl of plastic dog food, a box of dog food and a doggie-bone. All the essentials, right? Yes, but what about the accessories?
“Dog ‘n Duds” was put together with the idea of matching some of Barbie’s and Skipper’s outfits.
Additional items in the set included:
A pink and black plaid coat with shinny black vinyl trimming and belt
A red, velvety coat with gold trimming and belt
A ballet tutu of pink tulle and glitter
A yellow and black, felt party hat with a black masquerade mask
A white collar with a black ribbon tie
A pair of red and white ear muffs
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- The first Barbie doll sold for $3.00 (1959)
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- Barbie’s signature color is Barbie pink: PMS 219
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- Barbie’s first boyfriend, Ken, debuted two years after Barbie in 1961
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- Ken was named after the son of Mattel founders Ruth and Elliot Handler
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- Ken and Barbie broke up on Valentine’s Day in 2004 after being together more than 43 years
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- The best-selling Barbie doll ever was 1992 Totally Hair Barbie, with hair from the top of her head to her toes
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- Barbie has been outfitted by more than 70 famous couturiers
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- Barbie has had more than 108 inspirational careers
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For the Record
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- Barbie has never been married (She just likes to model wedding gowns for her designer friends)
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- Barbie and Ken are currently “friends” (but we hear he wants her back).
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- Barbie has never been pregnant (that was her best friend Midge)
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- Barbie’s “real” measurements are 5 inches (bust), 3¼ inches (waist), 5 3/16 inches (hips).
Her weight is 7.25 ounces
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- There is no Caribou Barbie doll, but there have been four “Barbie for President” dolls.
Barbie has been a presidential candidate four times as an Independent (She is non-partisan.)
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- Barbie is a noun, not an adjective. Many people have adopted the Barbie moniker, but make no mistake, there is only ONE Barbie.
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- Because she’s plastic, she technically has had plastic surgery on her face and body.
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- Barbie once said, “Math class is hard!” but has since amended her stance to, “Math is hard, but not impossible!” Obviously, or else Barbie wouldn’t have excelled in her science and math classes to later become a surgeon, dentist, baby doctor, zoologist and many other scientific professions.
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