'Skipper' doll & accessories, 'Barbie' accessories, Mattel, Japan, 1964.
Barbie, the world's favourite doll, was introduced to the New York Toy Fair in 1959 by Mattel Inc. Designed by Ruth Handler and named after her daughter, the 295mm Barbie was the first doll to represent the leggy fashion-accessorised teenager that young girls aspired to become. Television marketing was another very successful first for Mattel and the continually changing fashion outfits and accessories kept sales moving. Barbie arrived in Australia in 1962 on the wave of a youth revolution and was joined by her little sister 235mm Skipper in 1964 and Ken in 1973. Skipper and Barbie were able to bend their knees from 1964 and a 1967 'Twist'N Turn' waist enabled them to dance the night away. Barbie had plastic surgery in 1967 and 1978 to update her facial features. Skipper had a younger adolescent body and wore flat shoes, a possible result of criticism of Barbie's unattainable proportions.
From the early feminine careers of fashion model and ballerina, Barbie graduated to the more assertive astronaut, surgeon, executive, UNICEF ambassador, pilot and Rock Star. In 1992 it was estimated that a Barbie was sold every two seconds. This collection of Skipper doll, and Barbie clothes and accessories, played with and donated by Jennifer Blunden, a former member of staff, is a miniature document of the fashions, attitudes and aspirations of the years from 1959.