Barbie doll

fashionable child doll, dressed up girl

After Barbara Handler, daughter of inventor Ruth Handler (Denver 1916).

The Mattel company was founded in 1945 in Hawthorne, California, by Harold Mattson and Elliot Handler in a garage. They put together the name of the firm from the first letters of Mattson's family name and Handler's first name.

Mattson soon left the company and Elliot and his wife Ruth took over.

The story goes that on her travels through Europe, looking for ideas, Ruth saw in Germany an adult plastic doll modeled after Lilli, a cartoon character from Bild Zeitung.

Lilli poses in a bikini on the beach and says to the photographer: 'Why do you get so close, no one will recognize me in the photos anymore.' Or, to her friend: 'You always let only your heart speak. How do you hold the receiver when you're on the phone?' Those kind of things.
When Ruth Handler later saw her daughter Barbara playing with cardboard dressing dolls, she came up with the idea of making three-dimensional dressing dolls.

The Barbie was tested in 1958 and launched at the New York Toy Fair in 1959. 1961 was the birth year of Ken, Barbie's friend, followed in 1964 by Skipper, Barbie's younger sister. Their names are taken from two of the Handlers' other children.

Today, Mattel's design department in Los Angeles employs about 250 designers, sculptors, modelers, technicians and psychologists on new models: Barbie as a dancer, doctor, Olympic champion, pop star, aerobics teacher, veterinarian, astronaut, businesswoman, and so on. At each stage of the design process, the new ideas are presented to groups of children in video presentations at Mattel. They are the great source of inspiration for the designers. For example, in 1987, little girls in California apparently wanted to lead a rock band, collect jewelry, and drive a Ferrari to dance class. 'Barbie has become a social phenomenon as a real star and fashion model. She is the reflection of this time. Sociologists see Barbie as a reflection of the main currents of the Western world: the sophistication of the 1960s-1970s, the free-spirited style of the 1970s-1980s and the mixture of openness and classicism of the 1980s. an accompanying text.

The Barbie doll has become so popular that collectors hold an International Barbie Convention every year. Big money is paid for a rare prototype that has somehow been smuggled out of the factory.

Barbie has gone on a world tour wearing clothes from the world's most renowned fashion designers.