The world’s favourite fashion doll might be having a moment in the spotlight right now – but she has always had all manner of exciting adventures.
As the world goes Barbie mad, it seems the time to dig into Mrs Reprobate’s unsettlingly vast collection of Barbie memorabilia in search of something odd. Mrs R has a lifelong fixation on Barbie – through the good times and the bad for the doll – and could probably win Mastermind answering questions on the subject. When I said that I was putting this piece together, she began to bombard me with things to add – far too much for any single article, and while her book collection is full of extraordinary volumes of history, photography and fashion designing, that will have to wait for another day.
If there was one thing that Mrs R loved almost as much as Barbie growing up in Spain, it was sticker albums and I can only imagine the explosion of excitement when she came across Panini’s Barbie Parade collection, first published in 1978. This oversized 36-page collection of exciting (and, needless to say, very much of their time) stories and fashion spreads took 256 stickers to complete, a task that has defeated many a child over the years (no one will ever convince me that sticker album and trading card manufacturers don’t build in rarity value for certain stickers/cards, just to keep you buying packs in search of those missing few). Somehow or other, Mrs R managed to complete the whole thing and so you can enjoy the various adventures of Barbie at the circus, the Rio carnival, trips to the beach, showjumping and generally living the dream. Readers can see which of these elements make their way into the new film.
While the bulk of Mrs R’s enormous and impressive Barbie collection will have to wait for another day – not least of all because a lot of it is buried away in storage – it seems remiss not to share with you the Peck Aubrey collector’s edition of the 1961 Barbie in Paper Doll form and the limited edition Barbie Andalucia doll by Designer Pepe Jimenez from 1996, one of countless special editions and variations of the supposedly one-dimensional, stereotyped figure.
Consider this a taster. This is a subject that we’ll definitely be coming back to.
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