Barbie Doll History

Original Barbie Doll

Barbie Doll history reveals that there have been numerous types of Barbies made since she was first introduced in 1959.  With a rare exception here and there, Barbie's body hasn't changed much.  Some may have more movable parts, but the size and shape remains the same.  Her face however, is a different story.

Mod Barbie Doll

Vintage Barbies were made from 1959 to 1966.  For more detail on each doll see this list of Vintage Barbie Dolls.

Vintage Barbies made from 1967 to 1973 are considered to be Mod Barbies.  For more detail on each doll from this era see the list at Mod Barbie Dolls.

One of the most notable doll in this era was Malibu Barbie, which used the Stacey face and represented a significant shift in Barbie's evolution.  She was made from 1971 to 1977.

Malibu Barbie Doll
Superstar Barbie

The next big shift in Barbie Doll history occured in 1977, when in the era of the Halter Dress and Farrah Fawcett hair, Barbie underwent a dramatic transition in the form of Superstar Barbie.  

Barbie's were made with the big toothy smile and tons of long blonde hair for the rest of the 1970s, all of the 1980s and a large part of the 1990s.  An 18" Supersize Barbie, with the Superstar face, was made in 1978. 

The first Black Barbie was introduced in 1980, she is called "Black Barbie" and was made with the Steffie face mold.

Black Barbie

Barbie doll history as a collectible
is influenced by adult collectors.  

Barbie Doll history as a collectible doll evolved after the popularity of Holiday Barbie, which was first introduced in 1988.  With her popularity Mattel began to produce Collectible Barbes for adult collectors, including Vintage Barbie Reproductions.  These adult collectors had played with Vintage Barbie Dolls as children, contributing to the growing interest in Vintage Barbies. 

1998 Holiday Barbie

Many of the early collectible Barbie Dolls were created by  well known designers.  Some of the most popular where designed by Bob Mackie.   One of Barbie's first transformations after so many years with the Superstar face was with the "Mackie Face", which was first used for Mackie's 1992 Neptune Fantasy Barbie and then was used more and more for Collectible Barbies.    The 1998 Happy Holiday Barbie was the first Holiday Barbie to have the Mackie face.

In 2000, Mattel introduced the Fashion Model Collection, also known a Silkstones.  They used the vintage Barbie face and have been very successful with Barbie collectors.  For more detail on each doll from Silkstone Barbie Dolls.

Silkstone Barbie

Beginning in 2001, Mattel began to differentiate Barbies into different classifications using Label Colors.   The current classifications are:

Pink Label (which had always been called "pink box" for obvious reasons) is used to designate play line or inexpensive dolls that available where ever Barbie Dolls are sold.

Silver Label is used for collectible dolls with no more than 50,000 produced worldwide.

Gold Label designates numbered editions of 25,000 worldwide or less, available at select retailers.

Platinum Label is an exclusive designation used when the dolls are sequentially numbered editions with less than 1,000 available worldwide.  They are only available from certain Barbie dealers.

Black Label is a newer designation that indicates it is a doll designer for the adult collector.

Barbie has undergone many changes and a lot of diversity over the last ten years.  Now a variety of different skin tones, hair colors and face sculpts are used.    Mattel released a series of twelve Black Label Basic Barbie Dolls, the next step in Barbie Doll history, each featuring different types of Barbie face sculpt.   

Here are the twelve 2009 Basic Barbie Dolls and their face sculpts.  The dolls pictured below are all Barbies, the name underneath them is the name their face style is called.

Types of Barbies

In addition to all of the different types of Barbies, there have been numerous Barbie size friends including Midge, Stacey, PJ, Christie and many other sized family and friends such as Skipper, Francie, Ken, Tutti, and Kelly just to name a few.

Types of Barbie Dolls

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