Here’s a different theme idea for you “why not concentrate on your favourite era; dolls which capture the essence of the decade, even though they might have been made very recently? My favourite era has to be the 1960s. People say that if you remember the sixties, you weren`t there“ well, I remember it, and I was most certainly there!
It was a time unlike any other, a decade of colour, movement, music and youth. It was a ‘good to be alive’ time, at least in Britain, and for once, we were proud of our country. We had the Beatles, of course, and Mary Quant, Twiggy, Tuffin and Foale, Biba and Carnaby Street. Walking down Carnaby Street in the mid-sixties, seeing the boutiques, the psychedelic window displays and the mad fashions paraded along the pavement was a crazy experience.
It’s easy to recreate the feeling with a collection of dolls in those zany sixties fashions, perhaps adding a Beatle or two for good measure, and maybe displaying the whole lot against an op art background. Load a Sergeant Pepper cd (or play the vinyl version if you want to be truly authentic), dress yourself in a floaty caftan or a psychedelic mini â€“ and there you are, you’ve regressed forty years!
There’s a tremendous selection of dolls to choose from, some actually dating from the 1960s while others are modern repros or fashion dolls. The 60’s look can be instantly captured by including a few Twiggy dolls. After all, Twiggy was designated ‘The Face of ’66’ by the Daily Express, and she went on to become the world’s first supermodel. Mattel issued a Twiggy doll in 1965, a vinyl teen just under 11″ high. Though she doesn’t bear a great resemblance to her namesake, she’s very cute, and certainly looks the part in her blue, green and yellow striped mini dress with yellow knee-high boots. Other outfits could be purchased separately, such as ‘Twigster’, an orange and yellow geometric-design mini. Much more recent are Medicom’s series of small, all-plastic ‘Little Twiggy’ dolls standing 4″ high with moulded outfits, and their 10″ doll with moulded hair, dressed in a black and white mini dress, red low-slung belt and pink-spotted tights.
The most stunning Twiggy doll must surely be the bisque beauty issued by Franklin Mint in 2001. Standing 16″ high, she really can’t be mistaken for anyone else. Her makeup is perfect, from her ultra long spiky lashes to her pouty lips, while her psychedelic cat-suit really is groovy! Other outfits could be obtained including a lemon yellow mini, and a white dress decorated with metallic rings. Twiggy came with a fashionable op-art ‘trunk’ or wardrobe, decorated with colourful Twiggy decals.
In 1960, Barbie had only been around for a year, and was sophisticated in sheath dresses and high heels â€“ not really capturing the British feel of the decade at all. However, Mattel issued a stunning 1960s look Barbie in 2000, dressed in a bright pink fun fur, so typical of the era. This ‘Groovy Sixties’ Barbie is a delight in her drop-waist dress with a print top, white boots and white cap.
Amongst the range of dolls by American designer Robert Tonner are the Tiny Kitty Collier series. They mainly wear 1950’s styles, but occasionally stray into the following era, such as ‘Kitty A Go-Go’. Her classic sixties style block printed mini dress is bold and dramatic in two colours â€“ fuchsia and white. In the 1960s this style was often seen in black and white; in fact, I had one! Another creation is ‘Mod Togs’, a white sleeveless mini over a black and white striped top, while mix ‘n’ match ‘Kit and Caboodle’ contains a white mini quartered by a wide black stripe and a super lilac pvc mac with long matching boots. These outfits appeared about three years ago, and all fit well into a 1960’s collection.
An absolute must in a 1960’s theme collection is Sindy. Sindy was Britain’s first 12″ fashion teen, and her clothes reflected the trends. The classic is, of course, ‘Weekenders’, an outfit designed by Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale, who were very much in vogue. ‘Weekenders’ reflected the patriotic feel of the era with its red, white and blue striped matelot top, blue jeans and white sneakers. Authentic 1960’s Sindys are still obtainable at doll fairs or on internet auctions, or you could go for the stunning porcelain replica issued by Danbury Mint in 2006. Just like the original Sindy, she wears a ‘Weekenders’ outfit. Another option is the British Airways’ range of retro cabin crew Sindys; one wears a delightful representation of a 1967 white paper dress decorated with large flowers, finishing the look with a flower in her hair. During the 1960s, this outfit was sported by stewardesses on BOAC flights between New York and the Caribbean.
Perhaps the designers who have most captured the 1960’s feel are Doug James and Laura Meisner. In 1999, they introduced Willow and Daisy, two glamorous girls wearing over-the-top outfits. They included ‘Ladybug Concert’ â€“ an obvious play on the Beatles â€“ consisting of a stunning white pvc getup topped with a matching ‘baker boy’ cap; a psychedelic hippie trouser suit called ‘Rock and Roll’; ‘Carnaby Street’; a lime green and lemon pvc mini with translucent panels, and ‘An Art Opening With Andy and Edie’. This tribute to Andy Warhol and his muse, Edie Sedgwick consisted of a vivid Warhol print pvc dress. Daisy’s black hair was cut in a geometric style, and the look was completed with a huge pair of turquoise earrings. The series was discontinued in 2002, but last year an associated range appeared, dressed in similar sixties’ quirky fashions, such as guitar wielding ‘Troubadour’ in a military style red and blue jacket, and ‘Sunflower’ in a lemon chiffon mini, crocheted hat and colourful velvet boots.
Australian designer Jan McLean, issued a group of porcelain ‘Lollipop’ dolls a few years ago, standing 26″ high, while 12″ vinyl versions were also available. The dolls represented 1960’s styles worn by trendy girls from various lands â€“ my favourites were Lulu of London with her long lilac hair, and Pipi La Poo, from Paris, very cheeky in her black and white get up.
There are dozens of sixties-theme dolls to look out for. You might even find Andy Warhol. And, of course, don’t forget a Beatle. Very few Beatles’ ‘dolls’ were issued in the 1960s; most famed are a set of plastic nodders by Remco, very expensive nowadays. Recently I came across an amusing Beatle lookalike. Produced by Rosebud at the time, this 7Â½” egg-shaped doll is of squeezy vinyl, and features a shock of black hair. His open mouth looks just as though as he is singing. He makes a fitting, quirky addition to my fun-filled sixties collection!
DID YOU KNOW?
Twiggy turned to acting, and starred in Ken Russell’s musical ‘The Boyfriend’. Now she is once more a model, this time for Marks and Spencer.
1 Pelham Puppets produced a set of Beatles’ look-a-likes.
2 Tuffin and Foale popularised trouser suits for women.
3 Sixties’ teens went mad for novelty dolls called Gonks and Glooks.
4 Recently, Charisma (US) issued ‘Groovy Girl’ Candy, an 18″ psychedelic-dressed teen.
5 A recent poll amongst British adults nominated the 1960s as their favourite decade.
Dolls at WCN