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The

f
o
d
l
r
o
Sweet W
I
BY BRADLEY JUSTICE

t seems that in no time at all, Barbie, the teenage fashion
model doll introduced by Mattel Toys in 1959, became a tried
and true product. Within just a few short years Barbie was
a household name. The Barbie doll’s vast success brought her
countless accessories and an ever-expanding world that included
a Dream House, fashion shop, and sports car, but more than that,
she acquired a rapidly growing family.
In 1961, Mattel introduced a boyfriend for Barbie, the Ken
doll. Best friend Midge appeared in 1963. Soon, Midge was
double dating with her boyfriend, Allen, and Skipper, Barbie’s
little sister, showed up in 1964. Skipper’s success proved that
with every new doll style introduced, the opportunity arose
for marketing additional fashions and accessories.. A year
later, friends for Skipper came along, and of course, they were
accompanied by even more fashions. Suddenly, however, there
was a shift, not just in Barbie’s world, but also in our own.
The appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in
1964 ushered in a new genre of music and fashion. The British
invasion would impact the Barbie doll in a major way.

2

SPRING 2011

Barbie’s “MOD-ern” Cousin
The booklet that came with the
Francie doll has her illustrated
on the color in a very youthful
fashion! This particular
illustration makes her look too
young for the Mod Scene.
How about a game of Candy Land?
The gang’s all here! A version
of each Francie doll is hanging
out in the vinyl “Francie House”
which dates from 1966. They are
a colorful group, and there is no
denying that they are truly MOD!

DOLL NEWS • UFDC.ORG

3

MISSING CAPTION HERE

Barbie Fan Club members received this illustrated
“Autograph” from Francie when inquiring to join their her
fan club. Though Francie was a popular gal in town, she
knew who going to be the Belle of the Ball…….Barbie!

4

SPRING 2011

The great “youthquake” that was brought on by the shaggy
haired foursome changed the focus of teens. Suddenly there was an
entirely different look available to the cool kids of America. Termed
“mod” (an abbreviation for modern) the fashions came in bolder
colors, with cleaner lines and shorter hemlines, and in space-age
fabrics. With British designers such as Mary Quant calling all the
shots, Carnaby Street had arrived to mainstream America.
The toy designers at Mattel were paying close attention to
this shift to determine whether the phenomenon was simply a
passing fad or something more permanent. Determining that
“mod” was here to stay, Mattel went forward with plans to
update the Barbie doll, but first tested those changes on a new
member of the Barbie doll family. Francie, Barbie’s MOD-ern
cousin (with definite emphasis on MOD), was introduced in the
spring of 1966 at New York’s Toy Fair. The new doll had many
features that young girls of the day craved. Francie had long
hair in blonde or brunette, a sweet face, and brown doe eyes
with “real lashes.” She even came with a little eyelash brush.
Francie’s figure was not as voluptuous as that of her cousin,
Barbie; she was far less busty and she stood a full quarter-inch
shorter. Nor were her feet as arched as Barbie’s. The fact that the
new proportions and attributes required the purchase of a whole
new wardrobe for the doll was not accidental.

Good night! Whenever
I see the little “sleep
mask” that came
with this outfit, called
“Slumber Number” I
always think of Audrey
Hepburn answering
the door in Breakfast at
Tiffany’s as she ported
a similar mask that was
complete with cartoonish eyelashes.

DOLL NEWS • UFDC.ORG

5

The Eyes have it! The patent for “rooted dolls eyelashes”
was held by none other than the late Charlotte Johnson.
She was the original designer for the Barbie doll.

“Polka Dots ‘n Raindrops” is perhaps a cliché
name for this raincoat fashion, but the one thing it
is not short on is style. The interior of this classic
vinyl coat is lined in lemon yellow, and those
zippers on the pockets really work!

6

SPRING 2011

Francie’s “real” rooted lashes were courtesy of a patent that
was held by Charlotte Johnson, the original clothing designer for
the Barbie doll. The patent, which was filed in 1966, outlined the
method that was used for achieving the luxurious look, which
echoed the bold eye makeup worn by actual women of the day.
At the time of Francie’s introduction, there was a definite
difference between her and Barbie’s fashions. Barbie remained the
epitome of glamour and was at the pinnacle of her haute couture
era, while Francie’s fashions were youthful, kicky, kooky, and
mod. Granny gowns, shift dresses, tunics, and low boots were all
part of the new doll’s wardrobe. Though extraordinarily fashion
forward, the collection also included many sweet pieces, including
a yellow number called Fresh as a Daisy, which was decorated
with rows of white lace. Mattel designer Aileen Zublin created the
majority of Francie’s premier wardrobe.

WHICH CAPTION SHOULD
I USE??
In “Boarderline” a subtle
linen weave gave the bright
ensemble some interesting
texture. The dress
underneath the jacket
featured a drop-waist. In
addition, the same pattern
was used for a pak dress
called “Pleat Neat” that
was available in a variety of
colored velvets.
“They Call Me Mellow
Yellow” Francie dolls
skip through lemon drops
singing this popular
Donovan song from 1966.
It’s tailored-meets-pretty,
while the “fresh as a
daisy” ensemble on the
right is one of the more
tame outfits in Francie’s
bountiful wardrobe.
The classic cut of “Fresh
as a Daisy” makes it a
sweet little number. The
lace utilized on this dress
would be used for years
to come, as it must have
been purchased in an
enormous abundance. In
later years, the lace would
be used around bouquets
that accompanied Barbie
wedding gowns.

DOLL NEWS • UFDC.ORG

7

Francie, where are you? The prototype Francie doll
pictured on this 1966 box differs from those that were
actually sold. In this version, Francie has shorter, straighter
hair and her hands are angled ever so slightly different.

Go-granny-go! Of all the looks that came out of the mod
generation, there has to be a clinker. Granny dresses would be
that for me. However, the one adorable accessory that came
with this fashion is the tiny pair of granny glasses! These little
plastic glasses would be utilized for a few other outfits before
they were finally used for the tiny Mrs. Beasley doll that came
with the 6” Buffy doll from the TV show Family Affair
Affair.

8

SPRING 2011

The fashions that were created for Francie displayed just as much
attention to detail as had Barbie’s clothing and were complete with
working zippers, quality fabrics, and an attention to current style. Francie
was very well dressed. Her skirts were shorter; she had stockings,
“bonnet caps,” hoods, kerchiefs, shoes with buckles, boots, and more. A
lot of Francie’s wardrobe might today be considered a cliché of what was
popular in the late 1960s. She had a clear vinyl raincoat with a matching
hood (Clear Out), granny glasses (an accessory to the green granny dress
called Go-Granny-Go) and even vinyl pants, which teamed up with a
matching paisley blouse. Her wardrobe resembled a page out of a late
1960s issue of Vogue magazine!
Though both dolls were considered teenagers, Barbie’s two- to
three-year head start on Francie’s age put her in a whole different world
of sophistication. Barbie was dating and was somewhat career-minded;
Francie just wanted to have a good time. In my opinion, Francie was
simply a portrait of the “new” teenager, the young flower child looking
for a carefree, free-spirited existence. Perhaps the best depiction of this
type of teenager is Gidget, the character Sally Field portrayed on ABC’s
television series of the same name. Airing from 1965-1966, Gidget was

I hate snakes! Dressed in faux python, Francie braves
a fashion of her time, when designers created popular
looks in faux python, crocodile, and many types of fur.

“Style Setters” - hidden under this velvet cloak is a
crazy op-art print! So high fashion mod in style, one
would not be surprised to find a photo of Edie Sedgwick
wearing this same outfit. A variation? Collectors of
Barbie are always on the hunt for a variation in the early
costumes. The cape on this version of “Style Setters”
did not have the buttonholes completed for the hands
(as most did). Details such as this keep collectors keen!

DOLL NEWS • UFDC.ORG

9

Francie made her appearance to Barbie doll fan club members in the
March/April issue of the ’66 Barbie Magazine. Little girls received this
subscription when they joined, and it was full of “Barbie fun”.

The perfect fashion to wear to a
“Concert in the Park” - this first year
fashion was also available in Japan at
the same time. In Japan however, the
blue crepe fabric was swapped for red.

10

SPRING 2011

a sitcom about the life of a teenager who not only loved to surf, but also had
typical teenage problems of the boyfriend and school varieties, plus countless
other situational hijinks. To me, the most memorable aspects of the show were
the setting (Southern California), the fashions, and aptly the character’s given
name, Frances. Often called Francie by her father on the show, the name was
probably more of a coincidence than a case of “doll imitating art.” No doubt
the characterizations are similar, and in a life filled with ice cream sodas, dance
parties and dating, Francie and Gidget definitely spoke the same hip language.
When she hit the market, Francie was available in a bendable leg style
or a slightly more ‘basic” straight leg version. The straight leg Francie came
without the rooted lashes and was a slightly “stripped down” version. The
image on the box showed a photo of an early version of the doll with slightly
shorter hair, worn in a straighter style. Twelve fashions were showcased in the
color booklets that accompanied the dolls. Fashions for every occasion of her
day were available, from casual daywear to her First Formal. Over the course
of her history, Francie would have over 180 different fashions, accessory packs,
and gift sets to complement her!
When she was introduced in Barbie Magazine, which was available to
fan club members, Francie was featured on the cover. That particular issue
was predominately about Francie and offered readers a multi-page story that
chronicled her most recent visit to Barbie. The story shared insight about
Francie’s personality and other details, such as her last name (Fairchild) and
that she was definitely on the hunt for fun. Further, she’s a great dancer, and
her “lingo” is very hip. In the story, Francie’s antics all but annoy Barbie, but


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