LIBERATION 30: SILKEN FLAME BARBIE
In 1994, when Mattel introduced the 35th Anniversary Barbie reproduction, they had a huge hit on their hands. Demand was huge, especially for the more limited gift set and brunette versions. Never one to let a success go unimitated, there have been new reproduction dolls every since, with different outfits and doll variations. This particular reproduction is unique for two reasons: it has two coordinating vintage reproductions (the Silken Flame outfit and the Red Flare coat and hat) instead of just one, and it is the first reproduction to feature a bubble cut.
If you need a good reason to take this girl out of the box, just check out the picture on the left! On of Mattel’s sadistic packaging designers has this hideous plastic piece fastened to her head in three pieces and has the hat glued on to that!
This doll uses the vintage reproduction face. Although not identical to the vintage face, it is a great representation. Barbie has the vintage blue eyes with molded eyelashes and blue eyeliner. Her earrings are modern molded white studs, instead of the pearl beads the vintage girl would have worn. Her lips are red. I’m told this particular color of blonde is ‘White Ginger’, which only came with pink lips. The bubble itself is okay, although distressingly thin on top. I guess Mattel figured you’d never take her out of the package to know…
The reproduction body has very little poseability, just like the original. There is no twist waist or bendable knees. Barbie has red nail polish on her fingers and toes and super-high heeled feet. The biggest complaint about this body is the arms. They are shorter than the originals and Barbie’s fingers are curved together, not long and separated. The Commuter Set and TNT reproductions have used a newer mold that is more accurate.
Mattel did an excellent job with these outfits- both are great representatives of the original. The satin is a higher quality than what Mattel uses for playline dolls. The red velvet is a bit stiff, but is plush and matte. The coat is lined with white satin (although not on the arms) which will help prevent staining if you put it on a vintage doll. The hat is nicely done, and is lined with a sheer red fabric. The dress is also well done, except for those annoying clear plastic ‘sleeves’ (which can be easily cut off). The bodice is lined with the same fabric as the hat, and the skirt is lined with a stiff white fabric that does double duty as a petticoat. Classic red open-toed shoes finish off the ensemble. My only real gripe is that the coat doesn’t drape as well as it should when worn over the dress, although it looks perfect by itself.
Interestingly enough, Mattel has included white nylon panties here, a touch they never included with the vintage outfits. The white gloves are nicer than previous issues, featuring turned over cuffs that provide an even yet seamless edge, but still look more like oven mitts. The belt has only one hole, no doubt a cost saving effort. The best piece is the purse. This classic clutch is fully lined in white satin and features an adorable rhinestone button closure.
This is actually a Teen Skipper FA, but it fits Barbie just fine. I chose this pairing because it makes me think of poor Barbie in the ’60s… she wanted to be cutting edge, but hair like this takes time to grow out!