Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 I Can Be Campaign

As Barbie celebrates her latest careers, the global "I Can Be" campaign continues to promote women in the workplace with partnerships with The White House Project, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation and the Barbie "10 Women to Watch in 2010" list.

"In creating Take Our Daughters to Work Day, I had the opportunity to take girls into workplaces that they might never have seen, and through these experiences, their aspirations changed and grew. When we started The White House Project, we had to show girls they could aspire to the top workplace of all: the Oval Office,” says Marie C. Wilson, founder and president of The White House Project.

“Through Barbie, and its 'I Can Be' President Barbie, little girls have had the opportunity to lead the country from their living rooms and bedrooms, or get out their Barbie and Ken dolls and call a joint session of Congress. We at The White House Project are thrilled to be partnering with Barbie as she celebrates her 125th career and continues to inspire girls of all ages to follow their dreams."

Learn more about the campaign here.

Among the women on Barbie's 10-to-watch list are:

-Gretchen Bleiler, Olympic Snowboarder
-Tavi Gevinson, Fashion Blogger
-Cindi Lieve, Editor-in-Chief, Glamour Magazine
-Brittany Lincicome, LPGA Golfer
-Danica Patrick, Professional Race Car Driver
-J.K. Rowling, Author and Businesswoman
-Rachel Roy, Fashion Designer
-Susan L. Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of EssenceMagazine, and Founder, National CARES Mentoring Movement
-Marie C. Wilson, Founder & President, The White House Project

Barbie herself can tell you a little more about each of them on her blog.

The last woman, #10, was supposed to be announced along with Barbie's 125th career at the NY Toy Fair, but I haven't heard who it was. Have you?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting For Spring

It's supposed to snow again this week in Chicago. Blech. I'm ready for spring! But while I dream of cute peep-toe shoes, I'm going to be stuck clomping around in my boots for at least another couple of months.

Luckily, I've got Spring Bouquet Barbie to remind me winter won't last forever.



Isn't it funny how dolls released in the early to mid-90's can look so dated? With the giant shoulders and wild dress fabric, I would have placed her closer to the '80s if I didn't know better.

She's one of four in the Enchanted Seasons collection, which Mattel released roughly between 1994 and 1997. I don't have the other three dolls in the collection, but they all feature big dresses and even bigger hats. You can check out images of the whole collection here.



My grandma bought me this doll. The sparkly flowers are right up her alley. And the hat. Grandma always has loved a good Easter bonnet.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Sexy" Dorothy

I think someone from Mattel must love Halloween. Or, at the very least, someone must love the types of "costumes" some ladies' choose to wear on Halloween. Typically, such costumes are less spooky and more skanky.

For instance, check out this gem I found at a local costume shop last year:



Yes, it's "SpongeBabe." So. Wrong.

The extra-short skirt paired with some tall socks is a costume staple, so you can see why my mind immediately jumped to my annual Halloween game of Count the Skanks when I saw Mattel's latest Dorothy doll.



I know that I have seen something similar before...but where...?

Oh, that's right: here and here.

Mattel's previous attempts at Dorothy, like this one, have been lovely. I'm not sure why the company felt a sexy version was a necessary addition.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nerd Alert!


The votes are in, and the public has spoken: Barbie is now a computer engineer -- and a news achor.

Mattel recently polled consumers about what job they wanted Barbie to tackle next.

The popular vote went to computer engineer, while girls selected news anchor, according to this article and this one. The choices will be Barbie's 125th and 126th career, respectively.

Mattel unveiled both dolls at the 2010 American International Toy Fair in New York.

To create an authentic "computer engineer" look, Mattel consulted with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering. That's interesting to note, because her look isn't universally loved by those in the profession (see here, here and here).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Can't Wait: Bring On The 2010 Dolls

Mattel has some cool dolls on deck for 2010. You can preview some of them on Mattel's Barbie Facebook page.

I'm most excited about the new collection that incorporates worldwide landmarks into Barbie's fashion. Very cool. Of course, it helps that I've visited the three places included in the collection so far: the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.



The Statue of Liberty Barbie is my favorite...



...with Big Ben being a close second. I love how the part of the dress near her neck resembles a clock hand.



The Eiffel Tower Barbie is less successful, I think, because Mattel did not incorporate the landmark into the dress as much as it did with the others. It's more of a dress with a picture of the Tower on it rather than a fashion interpretation of it.

(All photos are property of Mattel.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dolly Forever

I'm still not loving the Barbies designed by Christian Louboutin.

Sure, the shoes are nice, but it's not enough to get me to pay $150 for one of them.

I find their faces really unappealing. In fact, they remind me somewhat of New York's notorious "cat woman," Jocelyn Wildenstein, who has had umpteen surgeries to transform her look.

I'm not kidding.

Here's the lastest Barbie from the collection, Dolly Forever:


And here's Cat Woman:


See the resemblance?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Barbie 2010 Collector Advisory Panel

Mattel is accepting applications for its 2010 Collector Advisory Panel!

Only eight collectors will be selected.

The lucky eight get a special orientation day at Mattel's headquarter's in California. According to Mattel: "Since 1997, Mattel has invited a special group of collectors to enjoy behind-the-scenes access to Barbie doll's world, including a backstage pass to the Barbie Collector headquarters at Mattel."

Only. Eight.

Damn.

If I could be on the panel, the experience would be not unlike Charlie Bucket visiting the chocolate factory. While I assume no one would turn into a giant blueberry and Mattel does not use Oompa Loompas for labor, I do imagine the inside of Mattel headquarters to be a glorious, magical place.

If only I can get my hands on one of those golden tickets.

Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah
If you're not greedy you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa
Oompa Loompa doompadee d
o

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Barbie Is Back," Mattel CEO Says

Barbie sales increased for the first time in nearly two years, which helped bump Mattel's fourth-quarter 2009 sales up, according to an AP article.

Of Barbie's 50th Anniversary celebration, Bob Eckert, Mattel chairman and CEO, had this to say in a conference call Jan. 29 with analysts:

"This incredible milestone for the Barbie brand allowed us a unique platform to reconnect girls of all ages with the legacy of the brand, fashion, aspiration, and cultural relevance. And we connected with girls beyond the 30-second television spot, Barbie was everywhere.

"We hosted global events like fashion shows and birthday bashes, made breakthrough partnerships with fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Louboutin, as well as with specialty retail outlets like Pottery Barn and Sephora.

"And talked to girls in their own voice through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

"And the result of all this cultural conversation, I'm proud to say is that for the first time in years all three brand health indicators are headed in the right direction for Barbie. Our US shipments into retailers are up. Retail take-away is up, share is up. That's the trifecta. Barbie is back.

"And in 2010 we expect to build on the momentum we created in 2009."


This is wonderful news! Now let's hope Mattel and Eckert can keep up that momentum amid a change in Barbie leadership.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feel The Love

It's February, a time of groundhogs (damn rodent saw his shadow!) and love.

And while I'd love to be finished with this frosty Midwest winter, I'll have to settle for Valentine-related warm fuzzies to keep me toasty until the ground thaws.

In the spirit of V-day love, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite Barbies: Sweet Valentine. She's a Hallmark special edition, and (of course) features my favorite Superstar face mold.



Yes, her dress is starting to look a big dated--the oversized roses and puffy sleeves didn't stay in style--but I find her face really beautiful. It's great makeup. Her warm lips and eye coloring match the dress perfectly. The picture, unfortunately, does not do her justice. (I was taking shaky, fuzzy pictures that day.)



Oh, and in case you were wondering what Valentine's day is like in Chicago, here's a picture:



Yes, that's a deep-dish pizza shaped like a heart, because nothing says "I love you" like a few pounds of artery-clogging goodness.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Richard Dickson Leaves Mattel For Jones Apparel

Richard Dickson, head of Mattel's Barbie division, reportedly is leaving the company to serve as president and CEO of Jones Apparel Group. Dickson has played a large part in revitalizing Barbie.

But next week he will be responsible for Jones' retail and wholesale operations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Tim Kilpin now will be responsible for the Barbie brand.

According to the article:
"Mr. Dickson's departure deprives Mattel of an important talent."

"Gerrick Johnson, toy analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said that under Mr. Dickson's leadership the 2009 Barbie line 'looked sharper, the fashion looked better, and the packaging looked better this year than in the recent past. The challenge is how to keep the momentum going.'"


Keep your fingers crossed that the new guy knows what he's doing!

Let's Do This

I want to thank all of you who visit my blog for a great January! Site visits and page views keep creeping up, which gives me endless amounts of happiness. And all of you out there who are followers of this blog: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(I make a happy little high-pitched "squee" noise when more followers join up. Seriously. Ask my husband.)

February is a short month, but let's make it a great month for Barbie blogging! Please share the link to this blog with your Barbie-collecting friends and help it grow. Heck, share it with your non-collecting friends!

Sure, Barbies may not have the same widespread appeal as LOLcats or funny cakes, but I think they are damn cool. And, I'd wager, so do you.

So let's do this. It's on. Bring it.

I'll keep posting, you keep checking in and we'll grow this blog together!