Dolls of Our Childhood

Fabulous Fifties Fashion Dolls

by  Judith Izen

 

Madame Alexander's 20" Cissy (1955) wearing her negligee (Courtesy Richard Withington Auctions)

Fabulous fashion dolls from the fifties attained a level of sophistication and detail that are incomparable today. These dolls portrayed glamorous teenagers with extensive wardrobes.  Little girls could dress their dolls with "grown-up" ball gowns, party dresses and casual wear that were smaller versions of teen-age glamour of the late 1950s.

The dolls had countless accessories such as purses, hair rollers, girdles, high heel shoes with "rhinestones", fur stoles, jewelry, and little nylon stockings. As the "baby boom" generation of girls born post World War II  aged they went from playing with the 8" dolls representing young girls (e.g. Ginny) to playing with dolls representing teenagers.  Something must have been in the air in the mid-1950s since many different doll manufacturers produced a slew of 10" teen fashion dolls.

Teen fashion Madame Alexander's 20" Cissy (1955) wearing her negligee (Courtesy Richard Withington Auctions)olls were developed during the pivotal time that vinyl was being introduced to the doll-world at the end of the short reign of hard plastics.   The teen fashion dolls all have the following characteristics in common:  they have teenage or adult women bodies, jointed poseable bodies (some with swivel waists), high-heel feet, pierced ears and earrings, and painted nails.

These plastic and/or vinyl young ladies are very collectible since they were made for such a short time, are so lovingly detailed, and capture the essence of fashion of the late 1950s.

The first fashion dolls of the 1950s era were the large (18 inches plus) fashion dolls

Close-up of Cissy’s original jewelry and lovely facial coloring. Courtesy Barb Lange.

introduced in 1955 by Madame Alexander (Cissy) and 1956 by Ideal Toy Company (Miss Revlon). They had jointed teen-age bodies and glamorous outfits. Miss Revlon came in several sizes including 18",20",23",26”. The 18” Miss Revlon is the most common.

The next year (1957) the smaller versions (the so-called 10" fashion dolls) made their appearance. Three of the industry leaders:  Madame Alexander, Ideal Doll Company, and Vogue Doll Company produced the most popular high-heel fashion dolls.

All of these teen fashion dolls were enjoyed by pre-teen girls role-playing their way into a glamorous future.  They are delightful examples of late 1950s glamour and style.

 

Miss Revlons introduced in 1956 by Ideal Toy Co. came in various sizes here she is complete with fur and jewelry. Courtesy Barb Lange.

 

 

For more information on Jill see COLLECTORS ENCYLOPEDIA OF VOGUE DOLLS 

For more information on Little Miss Revlon see COLLECTORS GUIDE TO IDEAL DOLLS

For more information on Toni see AMERICAN CHARACTER DOLLS

 

 

 

 

 

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