Sunday, February 28, 2016

Romancing the (Silk) Stone

 Dolldom will always fight for the underdog. When a doll is down, Dolldom goes to the rescue. Why? Because Dolldom believes that all dolls, regardless of their origins, are the offspring of a dream: to replicate in miniature the ideals of current cultural values. In our eyes, "Classic Black Dress" Barbie is indeed the vision of a fashion model as Robert Best illustrates in his exquisite artwork: long, lean, delicate, with a flexible torso and expressive fingers.

"Classic Black Dress" Barbie Fashion Model (also known as "Classic Bad Dress") has been designed to usher a new era for the Silkstone line of Barbie collector dolls, designed by Mr. Best. But her life has been nothing but tumultuous. Since her arrival on the scene, Miss CBD has been dissected, maligned, and reduced to the level of bad doll due to a series of unfortunate events: manufacturing gaps that leave seams of body parts unfinished, weak spots in joints, an articulation design that does not deliver a hand that will remain on a hip, and unannounced changes to the body proportions of the doll. These combine to create a perfect storm. And what's left behind is a doll that is not feeling the love that initially she intended to provoke.

So Dolldom editors decided to verify if indeed "CBD" is bad. Design and manufacturing issues aside (and Dolldom hopes that Mattel will address these - if not doing so already), is "CBD" a bad idea? As we addressed in a previous post,  "CBD" she is the future of the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. But to be so, she ought to be able to bridge the new with the very beautiful past of this groundbreaking line. For example:  Will she be capable of sharing a design aesthetic with previous Silkstone dolls? Will the fashions produced in previous years fit her well? Will "CBD" be able to wear a gown? Rock a vintage Retros look by Liz Cole? Proudly model James Bogue's Vogues?  Provide hours of unadulterated doll play? Propose new posing alternatives?

The following exclusive portfolio is meant to address these questions (no fashions were altered to accommodate the doll's new proportions) and to invite bona fide Barbie doll fans to give "CBD" a chance by playing dress-up with her.

Can "CBD" look elegantly tailored?

In "Boulevard", "CBD" cuts an impressive figure. She's luxe, classic, and very ready for autumn in New York.

Big chunky jewelry is always in style. Take note, Mattel.

Is "CBD" the ball gown type?

In the Pink! On a blonde! Magic.

"CBD" loves her pink satin and tulle confection.

Can "CBD" vogue in Bogue's Vogues?


And when the coat comes off, "CBD" shows off the sexy fit of the long column gown below.

Retro maven?
Yes! "CBD" is the perfect tourist in Bermuda in a Retros set made with vintage fabric and a miniature Enid Collins bag. Necklace by Joy Jarred. Vintage straw hat.

Can "CBD" move? And move us with her movements?

Most certainly! The articulated rib cage and waist combine to give the Silkstone "CBD" Barbie doll more flexible expressions.

In this qi pao by Joe Tai, "CBD" gets us all in a mood for love.

Suits in the boardroom?
"CBD" is chairwoman of the board in the classic "Lunch at the Club" issued in 2000.

Can "CBD" pay homage to the Teenage Fashion Model of 1959?

100%. In a Retros sheath with functioning buttons and button hole back closure, opera net stockings, black gloves, vintage straw hat, platform suede shoes by Paul Shangby, and jewelry from "Dusk to Dawn", "CBD" is nothing but vintage beauty. Her lunchbox is a key chain issued in the mid 1990s.

Dolldom, at its most constructive, proposes that Mattel, Robert Best, and the many other hard-working folk at The Barbie Collection consider:

1. Re-evaluating the design and execution of the elbow joint. An articulated Silkstone ought to be able to place her hand on her hip. She ought to be able to pose and keep a pose. She ought to sit and cross her legs. She ought to do these and not break or end up with compromised joints.

2. Consider imposing higher quality control standards to their factory in Indonesia, where this doll was produced.

3. Give collectors what they want. Offer both the frozen as well as the articulated bodies. This new iteration could well be an off-shoot of the line that focuses on designs with a more contemporary bent. The original body dolls would be offered in "Atelier" style designs.

4. Offer accessories. It's what makes a doll a fashion doll. Jewelry sets are long past due. A hat set. Hosiery and glove sets too. And what about shoes? The "Opera" stilettos in many colors. Boots à la Dulcissima but without the embroidery.

5. Design hairstyles that are in-scale. Nothing kills a doll faster than a head of hair gone wild. Neat, classic, versatile are key words. To scale chignons. To scale ponytails. 70s Cher hair. A fashion model is not a shampoo hair model. Do not design a hairstyle that will be impossible to replicate in production with specific budget constraints.

We will close this celebration of "CBD" beauty with one of BFMC's best videos: Atelier


  1. My sentiments exactly! I do have a few other Silkies, and I though CBD looked fabulous in their clothes. I also had no problem with the original Silkie being able to wear her dress. I think Mattel does need to work out a few of the "kinks", but I am all for articulation in any of the Barbie doll lines. Thanks for this review!

  2. Thank you, Phyllis, for your message and your visit. I look forward to seeing what develops for the BFMC this year!

  3. Thank you for this blog entry Ernesto. Poor doll, all thase issues shouldn't have happened. CBD was intended as a new beginning of BFMC line, I hope she isn't "the end". Her face is pretty and she looks wonderful redressed. She needs some improvements only.

    1. Thank you, Erynnis Tages for your comment and visit. It's a bit sad too but I know Barbie will recover. It's an exciting new direction for the line.

  4. Actually she is a beautiful barbie, I hope Mattel improve her articulation , I have her even she is not perfect iam silkstone lover no matter what iam to it.

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