Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Barbie Fashion Shop


1966 Christmas Morning
My Barbie Fashion Shop
 all wrapped up behind Me,
and my Barbie Keys to
Fame game in front of me.
Today I glanced over and saw my fashion shop, which brings back so many memories from my childhood.  It was one of my favorite Christmas presents.  I received it Christmas morning in 1966, which would make it 47 years this coming December!  Unfortunately I don’t have the original anymore, but I found myself another one years ago.

Front of the Box

This cardboard structure is everything girls dream about when playing Barbie; shopping, fashions, spending time with friends, and going to a fashion show. 

From the Outside Looking In

It comes with two walls  that include shelves, a stage with curtain and backstage door, a closet, and a large picture window that holds a Barbie size mannequin.  There’s a corner unit connecting the two walls that includes an outside window.
Invitations, Modeling Cards and Magazines
Free standing is a table, two chairs, three-way mirror, display case, 8 fashion card invitations, 8 modeling cards, and 3 cardboard magazines (Style Magazine, Sub Deb Fashions, and Barbie Magazine).  There is even a cardboard hat mannequin that fits in the outside corner window on which to display hats.

All Set Up!

The set included a sign announcing the fashion show and a 16 page instruction booklet. The yellow cardboard floor folds up and has a strap so the items can fit easily inside for storage, and also makes for a handy carrying case.  The set measures 38x24x17, and originally sold for $4.47.
Part of the Instructions Booklet
showing how to close it up for storage

The Fashion Shop was produced in 1963 (as stated on the back of the box) and was on the market for several years.  The 1964 Sears Christmas catalog calls it a Fashion Salon, probably because the front of the box reads “Complete with modeling salon and elegant furniture and fittings” just below the words “Barbie’s Fashion Shop by Mattel”.  The box front also shows Mattel’s famous slogan “You can Tell It’s Mattel…It’s Swell!”

1964 Sears Christmas Catalog

This great piece of American toy history is one of the more popular items for collectors.  I sure like mine!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Barbie of the Month: The Takara Barbie Doll

Takara Barbie

The Takara Barbie doll was released in 1982, when Mattel teamed up with Takara Company to develop a fashion doll.  At the time Barbie had been in the Japanese market for quite some time, but she wasn’t that popular with the girls there. 
With a few key changes made by Mattel and Takara, they had what they needed to boost sales in the Japanese market.  The new Takara Barbie was extremely popular.

Lower Portion of the Back of the Box

Takara Barbie stood 10 1/2 inches tall, which is just a bit shorter than the standard Barbie who stands at 11 1/2 inches tall.  The Takara Barbie had a "smaller, not so voluptuous" figure, with rounder eyes and a rounder face.  Her figure was more like that of Francie, Twiggy and Casey.  She was fashioned after Agnes Lam, who was a popular model and actress in Japan in the late 1970's.

Takara Barbie Kimono Collection 
The Takara Barbie was manufactured in several different styles between 1982 and 1985.  There was the beautiful “Excelina Barbie Doll”, who was dressed in more extravagant clothes.  She was considered a “High Quality Fashion doll" with a "High Grade Barbie Dress Collection" as her doll box states.  These dolls are harder to find and you are likely to pay a higher price for them. 

Excelina Collection
Other new releases in Japan included the “Kimono Collection”.  These dolls were dressed in traditional kimono attire.  The popular casually dressed dolls from the “Casual City Girl” collection, the Candy Pop Collection, and the “Fruit Kiss dolls” were very popular.  They were just so cute!   There was a sporty summertime collection which was named the “Sun Shower Barbie”.   There was the beautifully dressed “Crystal collection” and “Dream Party Collection”.  Little girls in Japan now had a wonderful selection of Barbie dolls to choose from.

Fruit Kiss Barbie
Her fashions that were sold separately also provided many choices.  She had simple outfits, school uniforms, everyday western style clothes, beautiful kimonos and cutting edge fashions.   Some of the collections were named: “Candy Pop”, “Fur Dress Collection”, “Excelina Collection”, and “Dress Collection”.  She even had Pak items, which were packaged individual items that were sold at a less expensive price.

The Fur Dress Collection
In her box she came with a clear plastic stand, a pamphlet showing other Takara dolls and fashions, and of course the blonde Takara  Barbie doll.

Portion of the Pamphlet showing Ken and Barbie
Takara Ranze

Ranze is the brunette version of the Takara Barbie.  She had long black straight hair with dark eyes.    She came dressed in a lace and satin style dress which was available in several different colors. 

Ranze was named after a popular character in the Japanese comic strip “Tokimeki Tonight”.  Takara even pictured the comic character on their Takara Ranze box.  She is a tremendously hard doll to find on the secondary market. 
Part of the 30 volume
Tokimeki Tonight Set

One book from  the Tokimeki
Tonight Comic Book Set

Also available during this time period was the Takara Ken doll.  He had the rounder face and eyes with rooted hair, just like Takara Barbie and Ranze.  He came dressed in several different fashions and had clothes that were sold separately for him as well.

The only Takara Barbie doll that was available in the U.S. was the Barbie convention doll.  She was given to the 250 people who attended the “Around the World Barbie Festival”, which was held in Romulus, Michigan in July 1985.
Convention Doll (1985)
Notice the silver convention sticker
  below her hand on the front of the box
By early 1986 Takara Company changed Barbie’s name to Jenny, since the Takara Company wasn't licensed with Mattel to use the Barbie name anymore.  Takara Ken’s name was changed to Jeff.  These dolls were still produced with the same high quality as the older version Barbie dolls.  Only the packaging was changed to reflect the new names.

Takara Jenny
Takara Jenny's Hair 

The early Takara Barbie, Ken, and Ranze dolls are highly sought after and can be very hard to find.  They are just another fun doll to add to your Barbie collection.
Happy Hunting!