In the past few days Mattel has begun to preview the first batch of 2009 Barbie 50th Anniversary. Among the assortment is a beautiful contemporary silkstone version of the original 1959 Barbie doll. 1959 Silkstone Barbie doll has been updated from the original, and includes a new glittery black and white striped maillot, and updated make-up pallet, and a modern hairstyle that harkens back to the original. Also exciting is that two skintone versions will be available.
Among the other releases slated for Barbie doll's 50th anniversary are a reproduction #1 Barbie doll that will come dressed in a reproduction of her original black and white maillot along with a reproduction of the popular "Solo in the Spotlight" outfit. Mattel already released this outfit as a reproduction back in 1995, so it's puzzling as to why they would do it again. I'm hoping that they do an accurate reproduction because the original reproduction was so poorly made. Another 50th Anniversary reproduction will be a bubblecut Barbie doll dressed in her original red swimsuit and will come partnered with a reproduction of Barbie doll's popular Enchanted Evening" outfit. Again, a reproduction that Mattel has already made (back in 90's), but I'm interested to see the packaging on these vintage reproduction dolls.
Further 50th Anniversary reproductions include a 1967 Twist 'n Turn Barbie doll that comes with a reproduction of the "Zokko!" outfit, a 1971 Malibu Barbie doll partnered with a reproduction of "Lemon Kick," a 1977 Superstar Barbie doll with an additional Superstar fashion reproduction, and a 1986 Barbie and the Rockers doll partnered with a Rockers fashion reproduction. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Mattel would also make reproductions of the Malibu doll, the Superstar doll, and the Barbie and the Rockers doll. I would think that there are so many of these dolls around at fairly affordable prices from their original release that a reproduction seems odd to me. Maybe I just have no idea at the popularity of these dolls (hmmm, I'll have to check ebay).
One of the biggest surprises is the introduction of Becky. Many Mod era (1967-1972) collectors know that the Becky doll was a Mattel prototype doll that never made it into production. There were even some "Francie and Becky" fashions that were released, but unfortunately an actual Becky doll never surfaced -- until now. She uses the Casey facemold and has a cute mousy-brown flip hair style. This unique girl will come with an additional two outfits to form a gift set. How exciting that collectors will now be able to add an official Becky doll to their collection. In my opinion, this is not a reproduction as there were never any Becky dolls released. Kudos to Mattel for coming up with something truly unique for Barbie doll's 50th Anniversary.
Noticeably missing from the 50th Anniversary assortment are Barbie doll's other early hairstyles. I'm surprised *not* to see an 1965/1966 American Girl reproduction in one of her gorgeous 1600 series fashions. Maybe that'll come during the 2nd half of 2009 when Mattel announces more dolls at the 2009 New York Toy Fair in February. I've heard that 2009's Barbie Fashion Model Collection (silkstone dolls) will feature an Anniversary theme. Besides the 1959 Silkstone dolls already previewed, there will also be an updated Silkstone "Plantation Belle" doll that wears a contemporary reinterpretation of the vintage classic. It will be interesting to see if Mattel carries this idea forward for the rest of 2009. I always kind of thought that Silkstone Barbie doll's outfit "Garden Party" was sort of an updated version of Plantation Belle, so it will be nice to compare that with what they come up with.
Other releases for 2009 include a reproduction of Julia in her nurse's outfit, a mod-style Pivotal Barbie doll gift set, a Marilyn Monroe "Blonde Ambition" Barbie doll, a Carol Burnett "Scarlett O'Hara" Curtain gown, an Alvin Ailey Dance Theater 50th Anniversary doll, a trio of Corvette Barbie dolls, a Kentucky Derby Barbie doll, 4 Dolls of the World Barbie dolls (France, Ireland, Mexico, and Brazil), and musical versions of the popular Wizard of Oz dolls.
I suspect that Mattel has lots more goodies planned for us in 2009, and the preview, thus far, has been pretty exciting. Collectors are abuzz, and the Dolly Daily forum has some fun discussions going on in the forum. Many of the photos of these dolls can be seen at the various dolls sites like Angelic Dreamz, My Favorite Doll, and Vogue Collectibles; they're all accessible clicking on the Shopping link in the upper right-hand side of this site.