For our first edition of ‘Barbie Playtime’, a 28-year old Barbie collector, revisits the wonders (and horrors!) of playing with Barbie’s golden blonde hair.
I grew up in the 90’s. The era of Totally Hair Barbie (1992) which, by the way, is STILL the undisputed best-selling Barbie of all time,and the army of hair play-based Barbies, who tried (and miserably failed to do so!) to emulate the success of Totally Hair. There’s Glitter Hair (1994), Hollywood Hair (1993), Jewel Hair Mermaid (1995), Hula Hair Barbie (1996), among others. The success of these dolls, if anything, proved that kids who were playing with Barbie dolls at the time had a lot of fun and play ideas with Barbie’s long and wavy tresses. Kids had a lot of fun and ideas that they tend to release their creativity (and angst!) by cutting Barbie’s hair! Ah! Poor Barbie! The fascination of those tiny little minds & hands to hair re-styling is quite horrendous!
In fact, Mattel even created a doll specifically made for kids who had a strong fascination with hair cutting via 1994’s ‘Cut ‘N Style Barbie! The said doll, as shown in the commercial, can sport different hairstyles by cutting her hair (over & over & over & over!). The commercial, though fun as it may seem, created a huge backlash for the doll! A lot of kids were disappointed due to the fact that they can’t really cut Barbie’s hair (a special mechanism was created to put in tiny locks of hair at the back of the doll’s body).
I was one of those kids! I remember dragging my mom to the nearby mall just to look for Cut ‘N Style Barbie! I was so excited. My mom, who was very hungry at the time (we went there at around lunch), asked me to have a quick bite first, but I insisted and fought my way just to get my hands on that doll!. And as soon as I got her, the world stopped revolving (and obviously didn’t pay attention to my lunch), so imagine the utter disappointment that I had when I found out that everything in the commercial was a lie! How can I give Barbie that chic bob-cut? How can I cut it short and have it long again in a matter of seconds?. Poor me. If anything, Cut N Style Barbie was actually a premonition of trends to come (hair extensions,duh).
I was basically disappointed with anything Mattel has to offer for the Barbie line at the time. I mean, I felt betrayed. Then something exciting and magical happened. The mermaid with the longest hair ever arrived and saved the day!
Finally! A Barbie doll that didn’t promise false hopes to the children who saw that glitter-sparkling TV commercial! The doll actually looked amazing in real life! And as soon as I found out that it was already available at the nearby mall (Yes, the same mall where I got Cut N Style, and yes, we went to the mall at lunch time again, but my mom made sure to have the actual “lunch” at home so she won’t suffer from hunger. That, or she was short in budget.)
I can still feel the magic whenever I relive the moment. And yes, I can still remember the jealous faces of my two playmates who, by the way, were not allowed to touch the doll, especially THE hair!
And of course, as bad luck would have it, just when everything seemed perfect, happy, and carefree, disappointments still occur. NOT with the doll this time, but something a little more hard to accept and digest-literally, thanks to our pet dog, who gave all his effort to destroy the fish, err, I mean, the doll. And THAT hair, that poor, long hair!
It has been 15 years since the incident, all the bad memories now buried–including that dog.
Growing up in an era dominated with Barbie dolls with gorgeous hair, I can’t help but notice the lack of dolls with good play concept, especially with the hair, nowadays. I tried to check out the current line of Barbie playlines. Although they seem to all look good, the current line still doesn’t live up to my generation’s play line dolls. But Mattel, I can definitely say, is on the right path. The golden (hair) days of Barbie, they say, is finally over. But with a little brushing, and combing, and perhaps, a little conditioning, I’d say, that Barbie is definitely far from over.
Current recommendation: Rainbow Hair Barbie 2015