This is a story about one of the first Barbies I bought as an adult and how like grandfather’s axe I have just kept upgrading her.
I rediscovered Barbie in the late 1990s. I didn’t have a Barbie when I was a child although I did have Skipper and Tutti. My cousin had one though. A Titian, swirl ponytail who looked quite different from my Sindy, Tammy and Tressy. I thought that she was interesting looking but not what I’d call pretty. I did like the fashions though and would spend ages looking through the little brochures that came with Barbie and Skipper picking out which dolls and outfits I would have if we were ever rich. As far as I was concerned Barbie had a certain look, she had a ponytail or maybe a bubblecut. That was what Barbie was supposed to look like and I wasn’t too sure that I liked her looks being changed. (Readers of My Other Blog will know that I react much the same way to new Doctor Who’s).
Anyway by the time I decided that I wanted some Barbies of my own she was a very different girl but I found that I liked a lot of the mid 90s dolls with their Superstar faces. They did look more natural than the high fashion Barbies of my childhood. My first Barbies were used ones from markets and then I started to buy cheap playline Barbies. One of the first ones I bought was a typical mid 90s Barbie with long blonde hair. I named her Lisa and she really grew on me. Lisa was my model for various photos as I began to enjoy taking photos of my Barbies. Here she is in a Travel Doll project that I participated in when we still lived in South Australia.
It’s quite hard to ID some of the playline Barbies from that era once they have been undressed and their hair mussed up. I’m guessing that Lisa came from the mid 90s because she doesn’t have such big hair or exaggerated eye make up as some of the early 90s dolls. I did see a picture of one I thought was her once but I didn’t bookmark it so now I’m looking again.
As a pre-loved doll Lisa had one or two issues though and later on I got another doll and named her Lisa too, or Lisa Two if you like. I restyled Original Lisa’s hair to hide her sticking up fringe and dressed her in one of my favourite Fashion Avenue fashions. She now lives on my “Going to the Ball” shelf with other dolls in evening wear. I couldn’t part with her.
You have met Lisa Two as I’ve used her in “What They Wore Before” I picked her to have as similar eye colour and expression to Original Lisa as possible. I don’t know what doll Lisa Two originally was either.
Lisa Two is now one of my models for Fashion Avenue outfits but when Mattel brought out a new Barbie body in 2000 I decided to look around for a new millennium Lisa to wear the Fashion Fever Fashions. It was a lot harder this time to find the look I wanted. The Superstar face had been replaced by the Mackie face but I still wanted a smiling Lisa. I also wanted very light blonde hair. The hardest thing to match however was eye colour. Many pretty dolls were rejected because the eye colour or shape didn’t look right. Eventually I settled on this one. She doesn’t look quite as innocent as her predecessors but she is older now after all and sometimes I think I can catch the right expression.
Will there be another Lisa in the future? It’s possible. If I see one and I know that she is right for the part then I’ll probably get her. Perhaps Lisa Four will be on a Pivotal body, I would like her to be more poseable than her predecessors but the main thing is to get the right facial expression.