Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mod Ken - Part 1

Part 1
Barbie's had a super-cool MOD wardrobe. Francie's Mod style is beyond compare and well documented.  Both are well-loved by collectors all over the world. Mattel's amazing marketing campaign of Barbie and Francie, pushing their new MOD look and wardrobe, made sure every little girl knew about it.  Even little Chris, Tutti's friend, got into the Mod Act with her Fun-Timers Gift Set.

But what about Ken?  I've not seen many articles or even that many mentions of Ken in the mod years.

So I thought I would do a little series on some of Ken's mod outfits.   Maybe Ken couldn't go out in a loud mini-skirt like Barbie, or wear a see-through vinyl raincoat like Francie or Skipper.. but he could rock that Mod style in his own way.

First, let's start with a little bit of history.

Ken disappeared from the market for a while, when Barbie was busy going Mod and getting a serious makeover.  Where did he go?  What was he doing?  Why did he leave?  I guess it's irrelevant what Ken was up to, but let's just say he went from this:

To this:

Okay, so maybe Ken had been working out for a few years!

Anyway, "old Ken's" clothes were way too small for "new Ken."  Even his shoes were too small. He needed a whole new wardrobe, and he got it!

Breakfast At 7 #1428
Here's Breakfast at 7 (#1428), Ken's brand new 1969 pajamas set.  I've been longing for this set since I saw it at a flea market years ago when I was just a kid.  I didn't buy it, because the tag was missing, and back then there wasn't reliable identification of Ken clothes from this era, so I didn't know it was actually a Mattel product.  Someone else bought it and I was kicking myself ever since, but I've picked up several pieces of the outfit since then.

One thing that pictures don't show and doll book/website descriptions don't mention is the actual feel of the fabric.  The orange robe is kind of fuzzy.  The other items are all cotton feeling.. the slipper is some sort of faux leather fabric and is pretty stiff.  They have cardboard glued in-between, so don't get them wet.  Everything else is pretty washable, in my opinion.

My set isn't in the best shape, obviously, and also it's got some issues (and could use a press.)  I'm missing a slipper, the elastic on the shorts is all stretched out and the cord on the razor is missing. This razor was included with many Ken outfits from the early 1960s to around 1972.

Anyway I think it's a keen set, and I really love doll pajamas for some reason.

I think it's convenient to tell you where the outfits are tagged.  This outfit is tagged on the robe only.  Also can you see the furry texture of the robe?

It's also fun to note that the yellow and orange check fabric showed up in other outfits that were made from destashed fabric by Mattel...such as in PAK items that can be found in any number of fabrics, and in at least one European Tutti outfit.

If you are lucky enough to find an unknown outfit in this fabric.. you can be assured it is a Mattel product!

Here's Breakfast at 7 pictured in the 1969 booklet that came with outfits.

OH!  One last word of caution.  All Kens from the Mod-era have bendy legs.. so putting on pants can be a big pain.  You'll often find pants ripped for this reason.  If you are having trouble dressing Ken, some baby powder on the legs can help pull those pants up,

Anyway, that's all for now, I'll be sure to update some more about Mod Ken soon. :)

Night Ken!

Click here for MOD KEN PART 2

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Weekend Doll Haul

Had a pretty decent doll haul this past weekend... but it came with a long and somewhat irritating story.

A few weeks ago I was at a big flea market that happens a few times a month in the summer.  A guy had a Barbie case full of some pretty good clothes and stuff.  He said he picked it up from another guy at the market that same morning (Argh, I was too late!)  As I was going through it, he quoted me a price.  As I was doing math in my head to decide if I wanted to spend that much or not, he changed his mind about wanting to sell it, and took it away from me and put it in his truck!

I was so upset.  I practically cried!  A few booths down, I found another Barbie case full of stuff (not as good) which I bought for a much lower price, and on any other day that would have delighted me, but since I had just lost that big ol' lot, I was still pretty depressed.

Fast forward a few weeks, the same guy has the same case full of stuff for double what he wanted before.  UGH.  Not to mention, this guy has given me a bit of a hard time on Barbie items in previous summers.

So, math in my head again and I decided to buy it anyway, since it had a lot of mod clothes and also as you can see London Tour (#1661) which I really wanted.  I was still steamed about him doubling the price and also being kind mean about it (not to mention repeatedly calling me "honey.")

I'm pretty stoked about the numerous complete Ken outfits that were included, London Tour, part of  Lamb and Leather (#1467), plus some rarer Best Buy stuff.  All in all, it had my money's worth, but I would have felt more comfortable if it was about $20 less than what I paid.  Plus, it smells like cigarettes.  Urgggh.

ANYWHOO, I spent a few days cataloging and ID'ing some stuff I didn't recognize right off the bat.  Here's a fun thing I discovered while I was doing it:

This is Best Buy #3206, from 1973, nicknamed by some (collectors?) as Simply Summer.  It features a skirt and hat made from the same fabric as Bubbles 'n' Boots (#3421) from 1971-1972.  It used to be 1973 wasn't considered "vintage era," but I tend to consider Best Buy outfits as "vintage" these days.

Anywhoo, while looking at other people's pics of  #3206, I noticed some of them have the thick/big bubbles at the top of the skirt, and others have them at the bottom.  It just depends on who made the dress or who cut out the fabric that day, I guess.  Or where the fabric was on the bolt, or the best way to use the most fabric the best/cheapest way.

I have no way of knowing which is rarer for sure, but it seemed like the "big bubbles at the top" version is slightly more prevalent than the "big bubbles at the bottom" version.

(*Side Note:  Bubbles 'n' Boots also has print variations, with the "big bubbles" sometimes being on the bodice part of the dress, and other times being on the skirt part of the dress.  I don't know which is rarer...)

I think this is such a nice Best Buy outfit as it comes with a belt and a really nice hat, plus it would display so awesomely with Bubbles 'n' Boots.  Even though it is a 1973 "Best Buy" fashion, it is nice enough to belong in the group with other "vintage era" fashions, in my opinion.

Also, I'd like to mention that the hat has an elastic strap which is usually stretched out / dried out / missing.

You might not know it was there from looking at pictures online, so you might not realize it is missing!  Even mint in package it's under the hat so it doesn't show.

I'll write some more about stuff in this lot soon!

PS:  Sorry about the quality of the pics, I kinda slap-dashed this together.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

First Post - Placeholder Post

My favorite titian hair Ponytail Barbie doll
Hello!  I am Nessa and I am a vintage Barbie doll collector.

I've been collecting vintage Barbie since I was 11 years old.. which let's just say was some time in the 1990s, before the huge "Barbie Doll Boom And Bust of the Late-90s / Early 2000s."

Back in the early 90s, it was so easy to find and talk to other collectors about vintage Barbie.  I frequently attended doll shows, and even Barbie-Only doll shows.. and there were several Barbie-Only magazines on the market.  These magazines were so helpful to me as a beginner collector.  (Specifically, the long and sadly defunct Barbie Bazaar & Miller's).  I loved reading interesting articles about Barbie and eagerly awaited the magazines each month.  I learned so much from fellow expert and long time collectors, and it was extra special to see those rare things you never got to see in person.

You might think that with the rise of the internet, it is easier than ever to connect with other collectors.  But it's really not that way!  The hobby is disconnected.  We don't get together to shop anymore, because there's eBay.  We don't have a magazine, because everything's on the internet.  We don't get together to chat, because the clubs are all defunct.  We don't get a sales list from our friends in the mail because everything's online.

Gone are the conventions and doll shows where I could meet other collectors.  Gone is the local doll club.  Gone are the magazines with the beautiful glossy pages, the long-form informative articles, the books, the reference guides, the giant hotel ballrooms filled with vintage Barbie to the ceilings.

For me, there's a huge hole left to collectors.  Nothing came to fill the gap left by those shows, magazines, and that important exchange of information.  I kept expecting it to show up, but it just hasn't.  And I'm tired of waiting.  You would think that the internet, the holder of all information ever, would have something out there for a serious Barbie collector.  But nothing has ever appeared that is nice as those magazines used to be.

My goal with starting this blog is to bring back some of the long-form writing about Vintage Barbie that I miss so much, and hopefully connect some other collectors (and maybe new collectors) out there with this hobby.

I am far from an expert collector.  My collection pales in comparison to many.  But I would like to share what I can... we'll see where it goes.  I am very open to other contributors to this blog or answering or discussing questions or mysteries.  However I would ask let's please not have any general doll ID questions, there are plenty of identification websites, many linked in the sidebar of this blog.