Thursday, December 26, 2019

Black Is Best

As the decade closes, The Barbie Fashion Model Collection also prepares to close its atelier. The line that catapulted the Barbie doll back into the fashion stratosphere with its attention to details, classic couture, and the introduction of the Silkstone body sculpt is coming to an end. Under the direction of Mr. Robert Best for the past twenty years, The Barbie Fashion Model Collection has given us a myriad of delights, making this line one of the high points of Barbie style.

Best in Black Barbie doll is the first offering for the last year. In her mini dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves, Barbie cuts an ultra-sophisticated figure, rather stark, and classic. The calf-high sheer stockings add a playful touch and Barbie's gorgeous mane, gathered at the crown, is a mix of varying shades of sunny blond. It is an elegant look that stands on its own as well as lends itself to the addition of embellishments.

For this Dolldom exclusive, Best in Black Barbie opted to add some golden touches: the chain necklace with Maltese cross charm from Dusk to Dawn and a chain bracelet with classic Ponytail Barbie charm offered with Début Barbie.  

Best in Black Barbie is ready for anything: cocktail party, lecture at FIT, book signing event, even a visit to a place of worship. For who in the human realm would not be delighted to have Best in Black Barbie attend one's wedding or, by the same token, one's funeral? Dolldom firmly believes in stylish beginnings and stylish ends.

Note: Best in Black Barbie's hair was given a blowout for these photos.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A First for a First

Mattel Toys celebrates its 75th Anniversary in 2020. To commemorate the achievement, the Barbie Team at the famed toy maker has designed, under the direction of Bill Greening, a tribute to the doll that started the revolution of fashion dolls back in 1959. The very first Barbie doll, known as Number One 1 Barbie, is the jewel in many lucky collections. Magical and mysterious, the doll is a cultural icon of sorts. With white irises and blood red lips, the look of the very first Barbie doll is drama condensed.

As the Barbie doll has had milestones, Mattel has produced versions of the first Barbie. One iteration failed to materialize in spite of it being imagined by many collectors since the inception of the Barbie Fashion Model Collection and created by many doll artists using dolls from this line. But finally, as the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, Mattel regales its collectors with the very first Number One 1 Barbie doll made of Silkstone.

Made with care and with vintage collectors' mindset in mind, this latest iteration brings together the heft of the resin-like material, finely-detailed and beautifully manicured fingers, the famed bathing suit cut to fit like a glove (no double sided tape to hold it on Barbie's bosom), and a daringly intense make-up design. This new Number One pays tribute to the legacy of Ruth Handler not by intending to be a copy but rather by ushering a new way to enjoy a quality doll that channels the essential allure of Barbie's first look.

This exclusive portfolio of portraits is dedicated to the memory of Dolldom friend Franklin Lim-Liao who shared many a Number One 1 Barbie doll with us.

Dolldom thanks Pretty Dollz Inc for their support in the making of this entry.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

This Is Now

Mattel Toys surprised collectors this week with the release of the anticipated BMR1959 line, designed by Carlyle Nuera. Combining the exuberance of the Barbie Benetton line from the early 1990s with Nuera's unique take on street wear, the line is refreshing and exciting.  Much to collectors' delight, BMR1959 offers two male dolls that, in Dolldom's opinion, almost steal the show with a series of firsts for Ken doll aficionados: a rooted man bun and a beat face. About time, we say! The dolls feature the new Made to Move body that gives them many posing options.

In this Dolldom exclusive, BMR1959 Ken dolls define iconic. If you haven't yet, check them out.  They are perfect fun for today and will be referential in the not-so-distant future. Congratulations to Mattel and Carlyle Nuera for breaking boundaries and creating really handsome dolls.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mirror Man

A doll exists in as many contexts as there are those who collect them, for what the doll embodies in its vinyl, hard plastic, resin, or porcelain form mirrors diverse dynamic mindsets.

Integrity Toys' "Art of Manliness" Darius Reid, from the company's recent Live from Fashion Week 2019 Convention, is an ideal example. Out of his well-tailored pink suit with matching fedora, this new iteration of the famed Darius character evokes - for Dolldom - the iconic models Derrick Cross and Ken Moody in Robert Mapplethorpe's photography.

In this exclusive portfolio, Darius is the essence of human beauty, as subjective as that claim is, not only for the remarkable outward forms but also for a perceived spiritual substance.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

We Don't Mean Rhinestones

Last July 31 to August 3, 2019, Barbie doll fans had their yearly apotheosis, one that felt particularly important, as this year, the Barbie doll turned 60-years old. It was the iconic character's diamond jubilee. 

Every year, at the Saturday night banquet, Mattel regales fans with the most special gift of an convention-exclusive Barbie doll. This year, it had been revealed, the doll would be a Silkstone Barbie Fashion Model designed by Robert Best. And Dolldom must say that Best left his best for this occasion. The doll, "Diamond Jubilee", is a groundbreaking design for it forgoes BFMC's classic mid-20th century fashion formulas and ventures into contemporary fashion, not unlike "Proudly Pink". But "Diamond Jubilee" takes if to a higher level with an attitude that feels revitalizing for this amazing line of dolls. Dolldom cannot but wonder if this look anticipates what may be a new era for the Silkstone Barbie doll. We can only hope.

"Diamond Jubilee" Barbie models a mini dress of voluptuous ruffles in off-white moiré (the same color used on the early BFMC boxes), black silk satin skirt, united by a shiny faux patent leather belt, and bold faux-suede thigh-high boots. At 60, Barbie is rocking the look cleverly complemented by a beautiful face-up boasting gold eyeliner, silver glitter eye shadow, and pale pink lips. A luscious ponytail is a nod to the original model from 1959.

Dolldom was honored to host "Diamond Jubilee" Barbie in our studios for a photographic session that yielded this exclusive portfolio. Together, dear readers, let's  celebrate Barbie on her 60th anniversary!

Fashion illustration by Robert Best from his Instagram feed

 Note: Dolldom's editors styled "Dimaond Jubilee" with past Barbie Fashion Model Collection jewelry designs.  As such, the pin and the bracelet in our photos were not issued with the ensemble.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Black and White: Together, Forever

The iconic look of a faux zebra skin swimsuit inspires a celebratory gesture from Robert Best for The Barbie Fashion Model Collection. "Black and White Forever" Barbie goes all out to emphasize the impact of contrast and scale - the white an black stripes are now bands in gradating widths. And what better but a bow, large and voluminous, to add an element of surprise to the back?

Barbie is as sparkling as ever with deep blue eyes, vivid red lips and a sprinkling of silver glitter on her eyelids. Her platinum hair is also streaked with raven black, gathered in an elegant chignon.

The questions is: is this a total look where doll and fashion are forever joined or can "Black and White Forever" Barbie rock other looks? We think that you already known the answer, as any teen-age fashion model worth her salt - regardless of the fact that she is 60- will jump at the opportunity to model a selection of fashions in the same evocative color scheme.

Happy 60th, Barbie doll! Here's to black and white together and forever!

A glamorous black raw silk coat and dotted tulle chapeau by Bogue's Vogues is ideal Barbie style. Add a pair of classic cat-eyes glasses and Barbie is on the go. She's vintage and she's now. Who else can meld the past and present so seamlessly? Just Barbie.

Underneath, a slender sheath in a black and white floral print with attached ruched cummerbund is seriously elegant.

Mid-century classic, reproduced by Integrity Toys for their Funny Face line, and Barbie gives Dovima a run for the money. Mother Ruth approves. Godmother Charlotte would have too.

A suit of pied-de-poule tweed - it's almost a cliché - but this time, Barbie gives Fashion Royalty's "Time and Again" duo-tone cropped jacket and skirt an unexpectedly fresh vibe.

Black and white, you say? Revisited in a cozy warm knit by HillCrestBarbies and Barbie is a delish as the eponymous cookie.

Life lesson: be simple, be elegant. When the cut is as beautiful as in this Vince Nowell asymmetrical LBD, it's easy to avoid excessive ornamentation. 

Classic cocktail: mix one part black, one part white, a good sprinkling of stars and, voilà, you get the slinky moonlit grey bias-cut "Starry Nights Mood" by Integrity Toys, made unforgettable by Barbie.

At home, relaxed, Barbie wears a comfortable silk robe by Rosina Haskell. A day of modeling done well deserves a break.

"Black and White Forever" Barbie by Robert Best - for the Barbie doll's 60th anniversary.