Did you ever play with Barbie? I loved her. The stories my sister and I made up were all very similar but Barbie’s wardrobe changed by the minute. It would take us an hour to dress her up, one minute to let her do her Barbie life things and then we went back to changing her wardrobe for the next minute of her life.
Ruth Handler was right when she noticed children love playing ‘adults’ with their toys. At the time, most children’s toy dolls were either babies or toddlers. Her husband, co-founder of the Mattel toy company, disliked the idea of an adult doll, as did the rest of Mattel’s directors. During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured doll was exactly what Mrs Handler had in mind and once back in the US, Ruth had won over Mattel’s Important Men. She redesigned the doll and gave her a new name, Barbie, after Mrs Handler’s daughter Barbara.
The first Barbie doll wore an amazing black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail with a fringe. She was available as either a blonde or brunette and her clothes were created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers.
What do we learn from this story: your curiosity is sacred, travel is important and you can only wear a coat with short sleeves if you have long gloves.