Barbie was first produced by Mattel in 1959. A businesswoman named Ruth Handler created Barbie after a German doll called Bild Lilli .  Ruth named the doll after her daughter, Barbie, and two years later the Ken doll after her son, Ken. 

    Barbie, her friends and their fashions have been an important part of doll history ever since. The first Barbie Doll produced in 1959 was the Ponytail Barbie. There were seven different versions of the ponytail Barbie in the next several years. In 1961, the Bubble Cut Barbie and Barbie’s boyfriend Ken were introduced. 1963 brought about Midge, Barbie’s best friend and the Fashion Queen Barbie, which came with a molded plastic head and three interchangeable wigs.  Allan (Midge’s boyfriend), Skipper (Barbie’s little sister) and Miss Barbie (the first Barbie with bendable legs and the only Barbie to ever have sleep eyes) came along in 1964, followed by Ricky and Skooter (Skipper’s friends) in 1965. One of the most popular vintage barbies amongst Barbie Collectors, the American Girl Barbie with bendable legs, was also introduced in 1965. 

    1966 through the mid 1970's is known as the MOD ERA for Barbie. There was a dramatic shift in Barbie fashions from the conservative time of the 1950’s and early 1960’s to the wild and crazy time period that followed. In 1977, Barbie history changed  again with the introduction of the SUPER STAR ERA Barbies. That particular face mold lasted into the 1990's. She had big hair, lots of make-up and glamorous outfits. She reflected the fashions of the 1980's and 1990's well.

“When you look at Barbie’s clothes through the years, you get a history lesson,” says Dolls & Decor owner, Jennifer Parker.  



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