Vinyl Dolls



    Images shot in a photographic studio, dolls posing as photo models … joyous, ironic, and without temper tantrus.
    Goddesses, these vintage fashion dolls: a collector’s phenomenon of true aesthetic charm and cultural value going beyond that of the doll, mirroring the tastes and customs of, the boom years.

    They have pinkish skin, at times translucent, perhaps lightly scented as wax crayons.
    Their mouths cherry or petal shaped and colored, closed, or with a slight smile ,,, their hair never too abundant … shapely, slim and sexy bodies, or even youthful and agile ... tiny fingers with nail polish. They dresses are sensational with wee buttons, fur-trimmed hems, linings, zippers that work, gloves for daytime or evening attire, and matching shoes or sandals. These are the vintage Barbie dolls, so different than those of today.
    Barbie is the most imitated doll ever, the most loved and detested, and also the most serial, yet ‘each one totally unique’ in the eyes of every keen collector. Barbie, inspired by the well-known German doll Lilli, was created in 1959, and has since changed shape and features, materials and weight, personality and identity…remaining unmistakably herself. Though first created as a toy, she has become an icon, a testimonial to the XXth century, a true collector’s item. Everyone today knows who Barbie is!
    Is Barbie a real collector’s item? Yes, when we are speaking about the adult collector, orientated towards pieces whose value derives from the aspects of time and loving care, not at all established by marketing strategies. In short, vintage doll collecting in the years which surround Barbie and her friends, from 1959 to 1973, are to be seen as the golden years for Mattel, when the dolls were of Japanese production. The vintage year Japanese models are, in fact, sought after and valued.
    Apart from Barbie #1, which only a few collector’s possess, and which costs thousands of dollars, the most adored and preferred model is the Ponytail Barbie from the early 1960’s, her every morphological subtlety the object of almost maniacal attention from collectors. Even the delicate, pale complexion, as in the case of the Ponytail #3, is a magical element.
    The American Girl of 1965-66, a Barbie with the incredibly coloured pageboy hair and bending legs, is sought after for its look and most sophisticated make-up. Almost impossible to find is Color Magic Barbie, whose hair and clothes color could be varied thanks to a magic liquid changer.





    Close to Barbie, we have her boyfriend Ken, the younger sisters Skipper and Tutti, the friend Midge, the 16 year old cousin Francie, and many more personalities, all loved by collectors, and to be found in the photos in this book.
    Very much sought after are the vintage dolls produced in 1967, that year of change, when Barbie liberates herself with a new energy. Her face is fresher. There are real eyebrows, long straight hair, a body with a waist-joint called Twist n’ Turn, and also both mini and maxi clothes. All in all, a cheerfulness that attracts the company of new friends like Stacey, Casey and Twiggy. These dolls are called MOD, the abbreviation for MODERN, and are a most sundry and winning mirror of style and customs of the late 1960’s. After MOD, the sun-tanned MALIBU doll of 1971 enters the vintage collection, and a new, most diverse era begins.