Barbie Her Life and Times

Billy Boy, Author, Billy Boy, Author, Billyboy, Author Crown Publishers $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-56574-2
Jewelry and fashion designer BillyBoy,* whose Barbie collection totals 11,000 dolls with original outfits by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, demonstrates how the plastic toy reflects the changes of the last quarter of a decade in American standards of feminine beauty, fashion, social values, and political and cultural trends. Barbie, the embodiment of the American dream, was launched in 1959, and early products included lingerie, which combined high-fashion styling and romantic innocence, a baby-blue taffeta pillbox hat, reminiscent of Jacqueline Kennedy, a wedding gown, cookbook and dream house. Over the next two decades, Barbie would go from astronaut to aerobics aficionado and graduate from nurse to physician. She and her many friends would spawn black, Hispanic and Oriental versions. Replete with color illustrations and references to Barbie magazines, novels and board games, this rich reservoir of ""Barbiemania'' will spirit many delighted readers down memory lane. However, some feminists will be piqued: BillyBoy* insists that Barbie was recently ``used as a scapegoat'' by a clinical psychologist who claimed many women suffer mentally and physically while trying to achieve a ``Barbie-like figure.'' (November)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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