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50 years ago Barbie Millicent Roberts first appeared before the world of toys. Barbie,
as everyone called her, has become one of the most successful toy in history.
Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she
often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations
of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the
idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company.
During a trip to Europe in 1956 Ruth Handler saw a German doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured
doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them and took them
to Mattel. The Lilli was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip. Lilli
was a blonde bombshell, a working girl. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1956.
Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli in 1964 . The first Barbie doll wore a black
and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either
a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes
created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured
in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched. Around three hundred and fifty thousand Barbie’s
were sold within a year. According to Barbie's parents, the Mattel
Company, 90% of all American girls between 3 and 10 have had at least one Barbie.
Today, however, Barbie is facing an identity crisis. There are many rivals in market. Bratz
dolls, for example, came to life seven years ago. They look more like today's pop stars
with lots of makeup and miniskirts. Bratz is a challenge for Barbie, as the company
offers a wide variety of clothing too. Indeed, sales have been going down over the
past year, partly because of the world's economic crisis.
Barbie still has a lot going for her. More and more doll lovers all over the globe have
become collectors. They trade Barbies or buy them on eBay. Other look for special and rare
Barbie dolls, like Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone with the Wind".
On the international scene, Barbie remains number one. Although Mattel has been selling
fewer Barbies in the United States over the past year. In January Mattel opened its first
Barbie store in Shanghai, where girls can shop, eat or even become their own fashion
designer. Barbie is present in the virtual world at
Barbiegirls.com. users can play games and chat with other Barbie fans. There are Facebook
groups and YouTube channels. Barbie has changed her image many times over
the past decades. Originally she wore blond pony tails and had bright red lips. In the
80s she changed to a more colourful neon look. For her 50th birthday Mattel is planning some
big events. Fashion designers from all over the world have been called to make new clothes
for Barbie. She is also scheduled to be a big star during a New York fashion week.
How long will Barbie stay on as a celebrity in the world of toys. Hard to stay, but 50
is definitely not the age to retire.
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Things You Didn't Know About Barbie Girl Vs Bratz Doll

10976 Folder Collection
Anita Lin published on November 18, 2017    Kylie Tai translated    Crystal Wu reviewed
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