expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

25 August 2007

Fashion Queen Barbie, 1963

Fashion Queen Barbie, 1963 
In the late 1950's, the designers of the orignal Barbie doll had not anticipated the importance of hair play in the toy's conception. As a result, early Barbies had a stiff, fixed ponytail hairdo, which discouraged children from playing with or restyling the doll's hair.

Within a few years of Barbie's introduction, hairstyling would take on an important role in high fashion and popular culture (think Jackie-O). Competing hair play themed dolls in the early 1960s also pointed to Mattel's mistake. Always innovative, Mattel would strike back in late 1963 with the ultimate Barbie doll: Fashion Queen Barbie.

Fashion Queen Barbie, 1963
Glamorous, luxurious and expensive, Fashion Queen Barbie's distinctive feature was her molded hair that enabled her to wear wigs. Dressed in an eye catching gold and white striped swimsuit and matching turban, the doll was accompanied by 3 stylish wigs: a platinum bouffant, a brunette pageboy, and an auburn flip.

Fashion Queen Barbie was packaged in a large, open front display box, a style normally reserved for gift sets. Her release coincided with an intensive advertising campaign, meaning that despite her $6.00 selling price (twice that of a normal Barbie), she quickly became a must have with children. Two gift sets were also produced, featuring the Fashion Queen doll, accompanied by her best friend Midge, and boyfriend Ken.

Fashion Queen Barbie, 1963 
images: (1) personal collection
(2) barbiecollector.com, montage by author
(3) flickr.com

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Blogger modmom said...


3:12 am  
Anonymous Santa Fe Dehumidifers said...

Who would have thought that such a simple marketing change would have such a large impact. What's also hard to imagine is paying $6.00 for a Barbie doll when today they are more like $20/doll :P

1:00 pm  

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