Collecting Barbies… Always Classic, Always New
EXCLUSIVE FOR THE RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes
Looking for a new collectible or to add to your already established collection…let’s talk about the iconic Barbie shall we!
Why did this world famous diva pop into my mind, actually for several reasons, first of all with all the Barbie Pink appearing on the scene in this years ready-to-wear and Haute Couture Collections (see my next post for that story), secondly all the hype already being generated for the 2023 Barbie movie and the BARBIECORE Fashion I’m seeing everywhere. (View the movie trailer.) The movie’s outfits are the creations of Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran. She has won two Academy Awards and also worked with “Barbie” co-writer and director, Greta Gerwig, on “Little Women.”
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie as Ken and Barbie!!!!!
Kacey Musgraves dressed up as Barbie for the camp-themed 2019 Met Gala.
Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly totally embracing the Barbiecore trend.
Neon brights trending…
And lots of color for Ken and his chums!
There are so many stories to be told about this extraordinary young lady, her boyfriend Ken and their “crew” where to start…obviously at the beginning as you can see from our chorus line of the original young ladies at the top of this post. And then let’s talk auction prices for some of the glam gals, the designers who have fashioned our fashionista’s wardrobe, some books for your enjoyment. And always, always remember to keep your collectible lovelies in their original boxes for added value. That, by the way, is true of all toys!
Introduced in 1959 the first ever Barbie has golden hair, a black and white strapless bathing suit and blue eyeshadow. This rare Barbie in mint condition sold at auction for $27,450.00. You can tell a first edition model by checking the holes in the bottom of her feet…the second edition has solid feet!
In 1961 Ken is introduced as Barbie’s boyfriend
The one-off Barbie, created by Stefano Canturi, wears a black strapless evening dress with a choker featuring a one-carat square-cut pink diamond. It sold for $302,500 to an anonymous bidder to benefit Cancer Research Foundation.
Karl Lagerfeld 2014 for Net-A-Porter, the limited edition originally sold for $200.00 estimate now….$11,400.00!
To celebrate Barbie’s 40th anniversary, 1999, Mattel partnered with De Beers to outfit this glamorous doll. Along with a full-length sheer skirt, gold bikini top and matching tangerine wrap, this doll is wearing a belt that features 160 diamonds from the big-name jewel company. She was sold for $85,000.
A couple of tips when shopping…always remember when purchasing any vintage piece buy what you like, buy it when you see it…if you hesitate it might not be there when you go back, talk with the dealers they are the experts, they know their merchandise and love to chat about it. You never know when you will find a treasure to add to your collections or start something new….most of all enjoy the adventure.
As a child I was never fond of babydolls, I preferred my lady doll (as well as my collection of Story Book dolls in their polka dot boxes). My lady doll was named Ruth, (my mother’s name not much imagination at that time, I’m afraid!). Mom made most of my clothes and my doll “Ruth” always had a matching outfit. My era was much before Ms. Barbie came on the scene. But guess what, I have some designer Barbies…I certainly did not intend to collect them but you know about collecting, one is an object, two you have added another, then three and…and…and…become a collection. My grouping, all in their original boxes, are not on display, several were gifts others I found at guess where, Randolph Street Market, of course. They are all, with a couple of exceptions, designers I worked with over the years and in some cases dressed in garments that were in the shows I produced!
My first was the Christian Dior 1947 Bar Suit aka “The New Look”…here it is. I found this at a silent auction and paid nowhere near it’s listed value, quite a deal! Unfortunately Dior was not one of the designers I had the honor to work with.
Designers I worked with on many shows…First Bob Mackie, and what a contribution he made to the Barbie oeuvre, then a stunning example from Oscar de la Renta, followed by a fabulously glamorous gown by Bill Blass (a retirement gift from my long time assistant, true treasures, both the assistant and the Barbie!). I’d like to add a few more from the designers I had the pleasure of knowing….RSM here I come!!!!
The woman behind most of Barbie’s wardrobe from the early 1960’s until late 1990’s, Carol Spencer, wrote a book to commemorate Barbie’s 60th anniversary. It is illustrated with over 100 color photographs
If you’ve ever had a Barbie doll, or you know someone who does, chances are that Barbie was dressed in one of the thousands of designs created by Carol Spencer during her unparalleled reign as a Barbie fashion designer. Published in commemoration of Barbie’s sixtieth anniversary, she reminisces about her time at Mattel working with legendary figures such as Ruth Handler, Barbie’s creator, and Charlotte Johnson, the original Barbie designer.
She was the first designer to have her signature on the doll, the first to go on a signing tour, the first to design a limited-edition Barbie Doll for collectors, and the designer of the biggest selling Barbie of all time the 1992 Totally Hair Barbie!
A couple more books..
There have been so many collaborators over the years…most notable, Bob Mackie! Too many to list here but let’s take a look an an unique pairing…Andy Warhol and Barbie.
Just like so many icons, Barbie is painted by Warhol…and then dressed by him…lucky girl.
Celebrating her 50th anniversary in 2009 she appeared on the New York Fashion Week Catwalk, with a wardrobe designer by the likes of Bob Mackie, Diane Von Furstenberg, Monique Lhuillier, The Blonds, Nicole Miller among many others…. “Barbie and I have had quite a long and fabulous star-designer relationship, so I knew immediately how excited she would be to make her Bryant Park debut in one of my creations,” said designer Bob Mackie. “Our Barbie never went through those awkward teen years and has obviously drifted into middle age without a hit. Go girl—you’re looking good!”
Here some of the catwalk looks..
And today’s diverse collection….always evolving…always relevant!
All photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.
by Nena Ivon