by Chris Varaste
Designer Carol Spencer is unstoppable! After an incredible career designing for Barbie® doll since the early 1960s, the talented Ms. Spencer delighted doll collectors anew at the United Federation of Doll Clubs convention in July. Guests were astonished by Ms. Spencer’s magnificent Barbie doll fashion designs, created exclusively for conventioneers. Even more incredible, each doll’s outfit was hand sewn by Ms. Spencer.
The event at UFDC was called Dinner Dazzle, and Ms. Spencer incorporated the theme into her glamorous couture designs. In preparation, Ms. Spencer contacted Mattel for support. “I needed 120 Barbie dolls, so I asked Mattel for vintage reproductions. For what I had in mind, I had to stick to designs appropriate to the time frame of 1959 to 1967. [Laughs] But I did ask for white shoes!”
Soon a truck arrived at her home with three huge cartons of doll heads, bodies, and shoes. “Time was of the essence, so I rushed to create the five centerpiece dolls first,” she says. “I decided to go back to a design I did before I started at Mattel in 1962.” But then she added a modern twist. “The style works well with today’s retro looks with tight waists and full skirts.” With so much Barbie experience, Ms. Spencer made sure the convention doll had a whimsical flair. She adds, “I wanted a fun, blue-and-white combination. When I put it all together, I loved the way it all came to life.”
Ms. Spencer also treated attendees to a special design presentation. “I gave a speech for the Dinner Dazzle event that included Mattel’s expansion into designing dolls separately for children and adults. People were amazed by the design process for each demographic.” During her talk, Ms. Spencer delighted collectors with pictures of herself sewing the convention doll. “I created complete sewing instructions and patterns so they could reproduce my design perfectly. That’s what 35 years at Mattel taught me!”
Mystic Blue Dazzle
| || |
Sparkling Pink Dazzle
The Barbie Dinner Dazzle event received a fantastic reception, thanks to Ms. Spencer’s tireless efforts and stunning creations. Doll collectors, Barbie fans and design aficionados were definitely dazzled by the special Barbie dolls created by the legendary Ms. Carol Spencer!