Synopsis of Toy
The scene: Suzy’s Bedroom Beautyland
Suzy works the crowded room, checking on her clients in different stages of makeover: Brooke in wet hair, Bionic Woman in curlers, Farrah getting her roots done, and Marie trying on makeup and accessorizing.
Suzy: Say it’s not true, Marie! How could Donny leave, after all the fine work you've done together? How about we try a little sky blue eye shadow today to go with your bubblegum pink lipstick?
Bionic Woman: Oh, Steve tried to leave once too, but they always come back... Hey, I think I’m dry now.
Suzy: Okay, I’ll be right with you, as soon as I put Brooke in some curlers.
Farrah: I want the curling iron—they do the best wings—and I need some highlights today.
Enter Barbie, pale faced and matted hair.
Barbie: Suzy, help! I have a huge date with Ken tonight, and I look like an absolute mess—that darn convertible!
A scowl from all the other ladies, always taking a backseat to the needs of Barbie.
Do you think applying perfectly straight eyeliner comes naturally, or the best way to curl bangs is innate, or the right amount of blush on the cheeks to make you look healthy and glowing as opposed to tarty, is something all girls are born with? Wrong! Girls learn the art of beauty from cradle to grave, and from the earliest years they watched as mom leaned towards the bathroom mirror, wide-eyed and mouth agape, before her lips slid against each other to blend in the perfectly lined mouth. From the very first moments of a young girls’ life, she prepares for her day of brushes, curlers, pins, barrettes, blow dryers, styling gels, mousse, hairspray, mascara, blush, lipstick and perfume…but until that day, she could always put theory into practice with a glamour styling center. Moms took a sigh of relief in the mid-70's when Mattel, Kenner and Mego introduced styling centers for junior beauty consultants in the making.
No more digging thru mom’s makeup bag to practice on your own face in the mirror (and in the process, breaking off lipstick and dropping compacts in the toilet). With the new glamour centers, your favorite gal pals came with their own makeup kits, and luxurious hair waiting for all your styling talents. Better than dolls that can’t seem to sit still no matter where you lean them, the styling head guaranteed a stable, respectful client that had no other purpose than your fingers tugging, braiding, curling and brushing her hair. Her face was perfectly crafted to receive the most experimental color combinations of shadow, lipstick and blush, but wiped clean with a little water and a cloth.
Barbie started the trend when her oversized (child-sized, actually) head was recreated and made into a portable beauty center. The plastic head and neck ended at the top of the shoulders, which turned into a tray to hold all the styling implements. Barbie’s luscious blonde locks could be brushed, curled and styled thanks to the accompanying mini plastic curler (spring-loaded via a rubber band), and clipped into submission with a pink barrette. Her face gleefully awaited a sweep of pink blush, blue eyeshadow, or red lips from her handy pink compact. She never complained, and was always happy to receive the attention, at least until your little brother came and gave her blue lips, red eyes, and tied her hair in knots.
Marie Osmond was the first celebrity head to join Barbie in 1976, lending her likeness to an oversized doll’s face. The head was a replica from the shoulders up, and a sassy off-the-shoulder top bared the shoulders, which served as a stand and tray. The Marie Osmond TV Makeup Center by Mattel allowed you to prepare Marie like the professionals do: before show time, she patiently waited as you styled her hair and apply her makeup, getting her ready for the camera.
In the wake of Charlie’s Angels fanaticism, Mego released the Farrah glamour center and styling center (with growing hair) to recreate Farrah’s fabulous style. Each glamour head came complete with an array of styling and makeup tools to practice on. Other superstars had their own fashion head, including Brooke Shields, The Bionic Woman and even the lovely Cinderella.
But it is undeniable that Barbie was the belle of the ball, with her glorious blonde mane, pink tray, pink barrettes and pink compact. The traditional favorite, while receiving a modern, updated look with clip-on colored hair extensions, still gives little girls hours of enjoyment and practice for the days when makeup and curling irons will have a place for her. Today, there is even a pink accessorized African American model, Barbie’s Chrissy, that allows little African American girls a familiar face on which to practice. While the 70’s icons have aged, Barbie remains eternally young and ready for the stylist’s chair.
Release History of Toy1976 - Barbie glamour head
1976 - Marie Osmond TV Makeup center
1977 - Farrah Glamour Center/Styling Center
1977 - Bionic Woman Styling boutique