Vintage Barbie Paper Dolls: Malibu Barbie and Friends


When Naomi and I used to play with paper dolls we had a cardboard box that we kept all their clothing in. I well remember how we’d feel when we got out the paper dolls, discovered they were all wearing party dresses from the last time we had played with them and  we needed to change their clothes. We’d open up the box and it was stuffed with outfits all mixed up together. It used to take us a couple of hours just to redress all the dolls we wanted to use. I think we had much longer attention spans than the children of today. Anyway I had that feeling again when I looked through the folder of paper dolls. It was not as bad as when we started to sort Naomi’s first big lot of vintage dolls and outfits but I could see that although the previous owner had done some sorting we were going to have a couple of hours work to tidy up the rest before they were photographed. We did that last Saturday so now apart from a few “mystery items” everything is where it belongs.

Today I thought I’d show you the Malibu dolls. Malibu Barbie, The Sun Set from 1972. This is a set of four dolls, Barbie, Ken, Skipper and Francie. They are very large dolls and their skin tone is a strange suntanned brown. I can’t help thinking that the Malibu Barbie of the seventies would be the Skin Cancer Barbie of today. They are way too brown to be healthy. Barbie and Francie both have their blonde hair tinted slightly, Barbie with pink and Francie with green.

Whitman Malibu Barbie The Sun Set Vintage Paper Dolls 1972 Mattell authorized ed | eBay
Malibu Barbie and friends paper dolls. Photo borrowed from eBay.

Anyway, on with the dolls. Here are the four dolls. I’m afraid my photos were not great today as it was sunny and a bit glary in the dining room with no curtains on the windows yet. After looking at a reproduction set on eBay I found that most of the outfits were present. Barbie and Skipper were missing one or two each. Francie three or four. Ken had all his which is lucky because he only had four. As with the Francie set these dolls had seen very little wear and tear. Some of the tags on the clothing had never been bent over till I did it.

Malibu Barbie The Sun Set dolls and clothing.

I expected that all four dolls would have some stars and stripes inspired clothing but could not find any for Barbie and Francie. Francie had a red playsuit with white stars but that appears to be missing. I could not see anything obvious for Barbie.

Skipper and Ken in stars and stripes.

We were expecting a lot of beach wear but there was actually quite a variety of clothing from summer dresses to overalls, shorts and even knickerbockers.

Barbie in pink and Francie in green.
Barbie and Francie in short shorts.
Barbie and Skipper in knickerbocker outfits.
Barbie and Skipper in Knickerbocker outfits.

Ken as I mentioned only had four outfits. Here he is with Francie wearing a paisley shirt and lemon coloured pants. We actually thought Francie’s outfit might be for one of the other Ken’s as it looked rather boyish. Pink shirts for men were a thing back then. As for his overalls and scarf round the waist I think even the girls are embarrassed. What was he thinking?

Francie and Ken in casual wear.
Seventies fashions
The girls model some colourful outfits.

Finally here are Barbie, Ken and Francie in some summer clothing. Ken’s beach boy outfit is probably one of the first in a long line of similar clothing although this is a particularly crazy colour scheme, you can’t see very well in the photo but his shorts are pink.

Barbie, Ken and Francie in summer clothing.

So that was 1972 in Barbie’s world. Hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to get a reproduction version of this set there are some available for about $US20 on eBay. Vintage ones sometimes come up as well at various prices and conditions.

Here’s a link:

http://stores.ebay.com.au/Arlenes-Vintage-Paper-Dolls?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

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7 comments

  1. I think they made Barbie and Francie too alike in this set. Their faces are nearly the same. I do like the outfits though. They are so 70s. If Christy had been in this set how dark would they have to make her to show she was not a tanned white girl????

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  2. Still very interesting, color are probably limited to printing technologies of the time, that you have so many outfits is great. Looked at my daughters sad excuse for paper dolls, Ken has one outfit skipper none, no Barbie, no folder,no year on the dolls.as she is 29 it’s no wonder they were tossed around too many times and shared w/ cousin. They used to draw their own more modest fashions but they probably ended up w/ the cousin too, or thrown out.. I hope to find a few dolls tucked in bins but I stlll wonder where the clothes ended up..

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  3. The dark tans look very unhealthy, but hey, it was the 70s and no one knew about ozone holes and how bad a stay in the sun could become. I love the colorful outfits, but that Ken outfit with the scarf around his waist is just hilarious.

    Drawing my own fashions for my paper dolls, was a favority game mode for me as well. It led me to try sewing for my Barbie dolls later.

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  4. Thank goodness for that. I have found drawings which make me believe my daughter and her cousin may have traced some paper dolls and drawn other outfits. I did score an Annette Funicello paper doll on e-bay so may put it out with Christmas stuff as I have a Santa one too. Holiday decorating’s always fun because having too many dolls looks intentional.

    Liked by 1 person

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