Six of One, Half Dozen of Another....

Six (plus one), these Barbies were the start of my doll collection.
Today Fashion Doll Stylist celebrates six years since the launch of our blog. As usual, I like to look back and reflect. Before I do that, I would first like to tip a hat to another anniversary. This year is the 10th anniversary of Mattel’s Barbie Basics Black Label—Little Black Dress edition. These dolls mark the beginning of many doll collections including my own! Personally, I never cared for the classic Barbie with her long blond locks, syrupy sweet smile and hourglass bodies. She was too "old" for me when I was a child and too silly looking after I grew up. But the Barbie Basic dolls were different. They were svelte (just like real fashion models), sexier and came in a variety of skin tones and hairstyles. And, of course, they were clad in those amazing little black jersey dresses!!! They were Barbies for adults and a must-have for people like me who've enjoyed a lifetime career in fashion!

Collection # 001 featured 12 dolls in total, of which I purchased seven for $20 (US) each. Target stores in the U.S. put out a special edition of three clad in red jersey dresses, two of which I bought.
Complimenting the first two Barbie Basics collections, Target store put out mini-series of Barbies in their signature color, red.

 I favored the ones with the more sophisticated hairstyles and interesting facial morphologies. Of course I did not realize the amount of dopamine packed inside each doll. Each purchase created a hunger and a new trip to the store to buy another one of her friends. And yes, it did help that it was easy to find stores nearby selling these divas! Seeing them in person meant no bad surprises and often, they were better looking in person! How could I resist!
My first SIS dolls, the first ones had elbow articulation and bend and snap back knees! 
One day I found myself in between Mattel collections with nothing to buy. My addiction led me to another set of dolls who are also celebrating their 10th anniversary this year: “So In Style” Barbie.
SIS--So in Style Barbies were completely articulated and came in cool hip hop gear. The first three collections inspired by Rocawear, Pastry and Kimora Lee-Simmon's "BabyPhat" fashions.
These were a younger set of ethnic dolls of varying skin tones designed by Stacie McBride-Irby for Mattel. They too, had different personalities, hairstyles and facial features with fuller lips and rounder noses. Though their urbanwear gear was not my taste, I soon discovered how beautifully they redressed in my dresses!
The SIS Barbies can be dressed in young teenage fashion or high fashion!
The S.I.S. dolls were perfect fashionistas that only cost $7-12 each at the time they were sold (2009-2017).  Each time I went to the store, I could hear them calling out my name!!! I made excuses for bringing a whole set home like, "I need dolls to model my clothes" and "It's cheaper to buy a doll than a dolly dress form" or "They don't cost anything. Lattes costs more." (Makes perfect sense in doll logic!) In no time, a whole village of them moved in, including their articulated hip hop sisters dressed in BabyPhat!
Barbie Basics Collection #2: Jeanswear
Since that first dozen dolls, Mattel put out four more Barbie Basics series: 1.5: three dolls dressed in black party dresses, 2: jeans collection which included three Ken dolls; a Target red edition (3 dolls) complimenting the jeans collection, and finally the swimwear collection. Representatives from each of these groups, except for 1.5 are in my collection.
Barbie Basics Collection #3: Swimwear
As tempting as it is, I have left all but a few of my Barbies with their original bodies. True those Model Muse bodies are not articulated, but those dolls know how to strike that perfect pose! Why mess with a good thing! Today, many of the those 10 year old dolls have increased in value. A quick glimpse on eBay reveals a 50-100 percent rise in the price of most Barbie Basics Collection 001 dolls.
Some of them (numbers 5, 10, 8 pictured above) are selling for as much as $70-80! If you are fortunate enough to own the AA Ken doll from Collection 002 (jeans) shown below or his AMC Cheerleader brother, know that your $20 doll is now listed for $190!

But getting back to our blogaversary…today marks our 362nd post. Early on, a question was raised. “How long do you think you can keep a blog like this going?” I responded by pointing out that fashion was a living breathing entity and thus renewed every six months. I assumed I would have a treasure trove of inspiration.  And to a certain extent I was right. Over the past 72 months, we have produced  tutorials, fashion reports, trips to fashion exhibitions and red carpet events.

Margiela Couture
I would be lying if I didn't admit it gets harder to produce a post with the passage of time. Over the past twelve months, I’ve slowed down a bit.  Not for of lack of interest but largely for three main reasons. First of all, there is an enormous amount of content on this blog already. I have covered nearly everything that relates to today’s style in the simplest of ways--which was the initial mission of the blog. I try to keep the tutorial simple and easy to follow. Sometimes simplifying a look or technique takes a lot of experimentation and thus a lot of time! At this point, I am competing with myself.
Viktor & Rolf

Secondly, It is really difficult to be inspired by aesthetics I cannot understand. What I see on many runways today are costumes being passed off as fashion. While I believe the craftsmanship involved in Haute Couture is an art, clothes in themselves are products made to be worn. They are not art. Lifestyles have changed and so have the customer buying fashion goods. Today's fashionista has a different relationship with clothing as compared to her 20th century counterpart. Fashion was something used to enhance, embellish one's overall look. It was a way to show who you were or who you aspired to be. Now, catwalk shows have been transformed into a spectator sport to a generation content to sit back and relax in jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts and sneakers as they watch the show! There's nothing wrong with it. It's just not the focus for this blog.

Finally, I’d rather take the time to create posts that are interesting, aesthetically pleasing and perhaps even inspiring, rather than crank out stuff just for the sake of posting every week. I’m aiming for three posts per month. But if somehow I don't meet that goal, please understand. We are grateful for readers like yourself who come from countries all over the world to see what we are up to. You've logged on nearly three quarters of a million times since the start! So we will assume, you are happy with what we do. And for that we thank you for your visits and your continued support.

Love to all of you,
April and her girls (and guys)

P.S. Don't go away.....we've got another post ready to upload in about a day or two!!!

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