In cleaning out our basement I found this relic of my girlhood, my Barbie carrying case from the late 1960s/early 70s. Note the hot pink babydoll smock dress with pneumatic sleeves (which you’d think might get in the way when you were mixing up your glass of Tang). I would regularly tote this case – full of all the related tiny clothes, hangers, purses, shoes and hats – from my front step, across one neighbor’s lawn (no kids there) to the next house over, where two of my good Friends-in-Barbiehood lived.
Inside the case I found a slightly damaged but largely intact World of Barbie book of fashions. The drawings are so fun and colorful, I can’t help but think that this helped spark my interest in illustration. Shall we step back in time and see the groovy fashions? Here’s the fab cover:
Here’s the first page of fashion plates you could totally dote upon:
^^^ The only outfit I had on this page was the blue knit-set ‘Togetherness,’ an appropriately 1960s-branded title. It was pretty difficult to pull those tightly knitted stockings onto Barbie’s rubberized legs, and it was like a Chinese finger trap getting them off. I so wanted Extravaganza and Jump Into Lace – sheer lace sheaths were a big thing, my 10-year-old self not thinking about how itchy the reality would be.
Here’s the facing page, kind of a Hot Pink Heaven:
^^^ I think I may have owned the Snug Fuzz outfit, because i remember having the usual difficulty getting the sparkly silver tights over Barbie’s lower limbs. They were not in any way smooth fabric, very gritty in fact, a finger snagging nightmare. I thought the donut-neck wedding gown was rather off-brand for Barbie.
And then we are on to this swingin’ lineup:
^^^ Like a Lime-Green Cowboy! I bet it was hard to actually keep that cowboy hat on her head, – this was the 60s after all and head gear was fast on its way out. I wore a hat at Easter when I was young, but hats as accessories lost big ground during these decades. I wonder why did so many of these drawings depict her with basically gray or ash-color hair? Was that a thing?
I’ll be posting more fab pages from this booklet soon.