Today is Barbie’s 58th birthday! So the doll I picked to debox today is my 2015 reproduction of Barbie #1 from 1959.
I was so excited when this doll was released! I already had a 1993 reproduction (made for Barbie’s 35th birthday) but let’s face it, although she’s lovely in her own right she’s not very accurate. I’m going to make some comparisons in this post, but please note – number ones are very rare in the U.K. and importation is beyond my means, so I’ve never got my hands on one (yet) and therefore don’t have a lot to say about how they compare to the original, other than what I can glean from photos.
Here is the lady in question, on her own in the first pic and then with ’93. There are some obvious differences:
* ’15 has the adorable curly fringe that was sported by the original #1. This was not featured on the ’93, although I don’t understand why they would omit such a distinctive element of her look. I really wanted a curly-fringed Barbie so I’m so glad they did this! 15’s hair colour is a more authentic canary yellow too, instead of the dark blonde of ’93. I did look at the “My Favourite Barbie” set from 2009, which included a curly-fringed doll, but it was very expensive on the reseller market so I never got around to it. Considering how reasonably priced ’15 was, I’m really glad I didn’t splash out on that set now.
* 15’s head is smaller than 93’s and sits higher on the neck. This gives 15 a more suitably haughty posture, as she is literally looking down her nose at you. I like it. ’93 always looks like she’s looking slightly downwards and as neither of these dolls have up-and-down head movement, only side-to-side, there’s nothing to be done about it.
* In terms of face paint, 15 has cyan blue eyeliner instead of 93’s dark blue, which really makes her eyes pop. I don’t think either of these eye makeup looks are authentic as I believe that ’59 had softer blue eyeshadow (please do correct me if I’m wrong, though). ’15 also has blue eyes instead of ’93’s white eyes, and fuller, redder lips. I like both faces, but ’15 is definitely the more glamorous of the two.
* The famous black-and-white swimsuit and the shoes are the same on both models. The material of both suits even feels identical. This photo shoot made me realise that ’93’s outfit is looking a bit grubby though! I presume I got her like this, as she’s lived in her box for as long as I’ve owned her. One welcome difference between the two – ’15’s was held in place at the bust with double-sided sticky tape, as was ’93’s, but in the inside of ’15’s swimsuit has a rubber strip sewn into it, to ensure that it will stay in place without slipping down when she has been undressed and redressed.
* The sunglasses are quite interesting:
On the left, you can see ’93’s sunglasses. They are fixed into position with the arms straight out, ready to be worn. The lenses are painted blue and therefore opaque. On the other side are ’15’s sunglasses, which actually feature little hinges so that the arms can be folded, and the lenses are tinted rather than painted, so Barbie can “look” through them.
Well, that’s it. Isn’t it amazing that she’s still around after 58 years? And that there’s still a market for her original incarnation? Here’s some more photos, including (just because I felt like it) both dolls re-dressed in recent playline clothes.