A star is born

Ruth Handler and Barbie dolls

Barbie was born during the Golden Era after the World War II. At that time, America prospered with films like Technicolor, building of new suburbs and cars as big as stuck whales. In the beginning of 1950, Ms. Handler had the idea of creating an adult doll when she noticed the happiness that her daughter feels when she could change the clothes of the paper adult dolls.
Ms. Handler imagined a doll on which girls could project their wished for their future life when they have become adult women. But the Mattel designers initially refused, claiming that the many details will make the doll too expensive. “That was the official reason.” Recalls Ms, Handler in her book from 1994 - “The dream doll: The story of Ruth Handler”, which she wrote with a co-author Jacqueline Shannon. “But I think that this lack of desire in these designers – each one of them was a man – comes mostly by the fact that the doll will have breasts.”
Ms. Handler` s idea had a flying start. When the family traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland, she stumbled upon a shop window with 11-inches tall adult dolls, all of them with the same face, but each one of them wearing different ski clothing. The doll was well known by German-speaking Europeans and it was famous under the name Bild Lili, a blond girl with pony tail and a character that was regularly appearing in comics published in the German newspaper Bild Zeitung. The accessories of Bild Lili could not be separately purchased. Ms. Handler bought then two of these dolls and one more on the next day when she is in Vienna.
Ms. Handler then understood what the importance of separating the dolls from the accessories is, and the doll plus its accessories was soon going to become an essential part of the profits from Barbie doll.
In 1957, Ms. Handler finally succeeded in convincing the Mattel` s designers to manufacture the prototype of Barbie doll.