Friday, December 4, 2009

My Favorite Face

A lot of Barbie collectors are excited about the new Barbie Basics line of 12 dolls. I've seen plenty of doll-related blogs and bulletin boards teeming with excitement over them.

Each doll has a different face mold and little black dress. It's a neat concept, and designer Bill Greening did a good job with their vampy styling.

So why do they fail to excite me? It took me awhile to figure it out, but I think it comes down to this: I am forever and always, first and foremost a fan of the Superstar face mold.

The Barbie Basics face molds from left to right in the picture are:
1. Steffie
2. Mblili
3. Kayla/Lea
4. Lara
5. Tango
6. Mackie
7. Teresa
8. Aphrodite
9. Goddess
10. Carnaval
11. Diva
12. Desiree

Where's my Superstar?

Mattel introduced the Superstar face mold in the late seventies with Superstar Barbie. It features an open-mouth smile, and Mattel used the mold heavily throughout the 80s and 90s. (Here's a nice collection of Superstar mold pictures. You can see some of the different ways it has been painted and styled.)

As a child of the 80s, it's the mold I grew up with, the one used on most of the dolls that I played with as a kid.

And now, as an adult, it's the face mold I naturally gravitate towards as a collector.

A close second-favorite face mold for me is the Mackie, which is included among the Barbie Basics dolls. She is my favorite out of the 12.

Mattel introduced the Mackie mold, which features a closed mouth, with Bob Mackie's Neptune Fantasy Barbie in the early 90s. Many of the dolls in my collection and those I played with in the 90s had this face mold. (Check out some examples of the Mackie mold here.)

I know I always will choose dolls with these face molds over others. They just appeal to me. It's a combination of nostalgia and liking what's most familiar.

Do other collectors experience the same thing? Do you typically go for one face over the others?


  1. My childhood Barbie was the TNT or eyelash face mold Barbie. Although I prized Barbie and Co. dolls, that is probably my least favorite face mold. I was a doll collecting teenager when the SuperStar Barbie mold appeared. I now have several dolls with the SuperStar face mold and the revised SuperStar/Generation Girl face mold, but I wouldn't call that a favorite.

    I appreciate the VARIETY of head molds available. It's hard for me to single out one. I like the Mackie, the Kayla/Lea, the Asha, the Mbili, and the Ana/Lara ones. Etc.

    Thanks for this post; very interesting ;-D

  2. I should clarify lest you all think I have shelves of Superstar/Mackie faces staring back at me: I do have dolls with other face molds as well. I just find that I tend to like dolls with those molds (and purchase them) more often than some of the others, though I certainly am not opposed to a variety of faces.

    It kind of is like I was collecting for years, stepped back to look at my collection, and realized there's a pattern that developed without me really trying to make it that way. (I hope I'm making sense and not rambling too much here!)

    Thanks for your input, Dana! I love learning more about other collectors' dolls and habits.

  3. I think they looked at what is popular recently. They didn't try to reach back and update and old face mold for the new collector. They only included the Steffie mold.

  4. I'm a Superstar fan also because I'm a '80s child just as you so I definetly go for the barbies with that face mold. My other favourite is Steffie so if I can't find a Superstar face I'll go for the Steffie one.

  5. Maybe they are saving the Superstar face mold for Collection 002. I am also waiting for the Kira/Asian face mold.

  6. I doubt we will see any SuperStar face molds that are not "My Favorite Barbie" or nostalgia dolls. The Generation Girl is the replacement for the SuperStar face mold. The DNB Dolls link you have that has more modern-looking face paint are actually Generation Girl. GG face molds do not have the secondary dimples, their jaw is set slightly wider and the bridge of their nose is not as recessed, making them less "button".

    There are more SuperStar face mold Barbies than any other mold. Collecting that face mold is like collecting pennies, you can find them everywhere and they are of the least value.

  7. Thanks for your input, DracheMitch. I must say, however, that value is defined by the collector. Each collector has reasons for choosing the dolls in his or her collection. And while some may not be valuable monetarily, they may be of great value to the collector for myriad other reasons.

  8. SuperStar face mold is a favorite of a lot of people, but I don't like it or think that they ever will make that doll again (maybe in a special collector) or ever should. Why? Because those dolls had strange eyes! The Basics at least are more realistic and defined, they're the best currently. Then there are the celebrity dolls.. I seriously disliked the DnB dolls. Although I like the 60's dolls which are now remade as Silkstones. They're great! Although a thousand times less realistic than Basics and others, but they're sophisticated and a lot of things which show how a treasure Barbie is. Unlike the silly looking dolly faces playline SuperStars. I'm happy to grow up in early 2000's. That time they had a lot of new faces, mostly a sweet innocent face and the special Teresa mold. Then in mid 2000's (Fashion Fever), terrible dolls, but awesome fashion and furniture. Then later a new face of Barbie came which they discontinued quickly (terrible face, check Candy Glam scented doll). But there came the current set of Barbie's friends: new Teresa, Summer, Raquelle and Nikki replacing Kayla/Lea and Christie. The friends were good. After some other slight changes, the current main playline blond Barbie has an ordinary cheap face. Not very bad, but not stunning. And because of the falling qualities, I mostly shop for Collectors only. I hope in later years Mattel make more fresh face molds not completely realistic, but close. And also fix the quality of the playline like it was in the 2000's.

  9. Barbie was incredibly popular in the late 80's and early 90's and Totally hair barbie was the best selling barbie of all time, I think it's fair to say the Super Star Mold was/is fabulous.


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