How Did Barbie Changed In The 1960s And 1970s

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The decades of the 1960s and 1970s brought many new ideas and changes to America, a departure from the extremely conservative 1950s. Swinging to the other extreme, these decades introduced expanded freedoms to the younger generation, and their power and opportunity to break the social confines of past generations. Mattel’s Barbie Doll was born in 1959, and each Barbie throughout the two subsequent decades gave testimony to the multitude of changes happening (Lord 78). Barbie reflected major events of the times, and broke the traditional expectations of the “baby dolls” of years past that were the only options of the girls until Barbie came on the scene (Stone 25). The shifts made in America’s societal values, from “Father Knows Best” to “Grease”,…show more content…
This rather risqué (for the times) outfit was the first that Barbie ever wore, and showed just how different the younger generation was from their parents. Though Ruth Handler’s design team at Mattel did not think the doll would sell, Ruth saw just how much times were changing and took a risk that just as the girls of the Sixties were becoming more daring, their dolls needed that push as well (Cornford). Instead of the patent leather Mary Janes or the saddle shoes of times past, Barbie was constantly sold in heels. Even more reflective of the new-heeled styles of the Sixties, her feet came permanently arched to better wear these daring styles (Lord 91). Barbie’s wardrobe in the 1960s mimicked the adult fashions of the time, and Barbie’s first clothing designer, Charlotte Johnson, traveled to Europe each year to glean inspiration from the new clothing collections of designers including Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Hubert de Givenchy (Appendix D) (Stone 67). Barbie made fashion something for every woman to be interested in, and as she saw what was happening on the runway, these cutting edge designs showed in the lines of her clothing. Many of these new styles included tailored suits, pearled accessories, pillbox hats, and long gloves, a more adult dress up kind of look. Other fashions included psychedelic fabrics, miniskirts, and go-go boots. Barbie definitely had an outfit for every fad and every taste level that Mattel saw doing well in popular culture, and this fact shows in the numerous ensembles Barbie modeled all throughout the 60s

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