The names Mary Quant, Piet Mondrian, Richard Avedon and Yves St Laurent may not at first seem to go with names like Barbie, Francie, Miss GoGo, and Giggles, but they all came together in some of the most fun fashions and dolls of the 1960s and early 70s.
In 1960s London young working-class people fed up with the austerity of the post WWII era shortages and the fashion conventions of their parent’s generation were primed to break away to new means of expression. Designers like Mary Quant, feeling this same need for change, lit a match that still burns today. Inspired by art and music, designers redefined the fashion silhouette yet again and produced clothes that would be more affordable to the masses.
The popularity of this new trend was not lost on the doll manufacturers of the day who were quick to bring the Mod look to their doll lines.
Chief among these mod inspired doll fashions was that style maven – Barbie®. Mattel entered the mod scene introducing new friends and relatives to the Barbie family. Dolls like Francie and Casey sported looks that transported little girls and boys right to Carnaby Street.
When fashion designer Yves St Laurent looked to the paintings of Piet Mondrian for his color-blocked dress styles he created one of the most iconic looks of the era. Well established doll companies including Madam Alexander and Vogue Doll Company began to include similar looks into their lines.
The model Lesley Hornby, known to the world as Twiggy, personified the style of the era.
Mod styles, led to flower-power and psychedelic art and fashion and toy companies such as Effanbee, Remco, and Hasbro came out with dolls sporting the newest looks.
Images by artists like Margaret Keane began to appear on everything from prints, to greeting cards, to figurines. Dolls like Suzie Sad Eyes by S. Rosenberg Co. capitalized on the popularity of this look.
Today the mod looks of the past are considered retro and are again influencing current fashion design while the mod dolls of the late 1960s and 70s appeal to collectors who relate to them on a nostalgic basis and to younger generations of collectors who relate to the sense of fun and freedom of these looks.