Things I Did Not Know

As you know, I have a passion for fashion dolls, especially those in lingerie.

I’m not a huge Barbie fan, but I troll the sites now & then for a stellar bit of lingerie for them & today I learned something I did not know: Barbie was virtually a copy of a German doll called Bild Lilli.

Bild Lilli was originally a cartoon character created by West German cartoonist Reinhard Beuthien for a “filler” on June 24, 1952 for the newspaper Bild-Zeitung in Hamburg, Germany. Lilli was as a curvy gal who knew what she wanted and went about her business to get it. She was classy & sassy and her fashions were designed by Reinhard’s wife, Erika.

Lilli, of course, became quite popular. She went from a one-time ‘filler’ piece (no pun intended) to having a 10 year run. And in 1955 she became a doll.

Max Weissbrodt from the Hausser/Elastolin company in Neustadt/Coburg, Germany created and produced the doll which interestingly enough became a popular bachelor-party gift in West Germany.

Barbie was made on 1959, and as you can see by the photos, clearly a copy (Lilli is the blonde, Babs the brunette).

I gather International Copyright wasn’t too strong then ;)

There is a fascinating interview with Inge Astor-Kaiser, Germany’s premiere collector of the Lilli doll, which not only discusses the doll but the culture in which this pinup of a doll was created — here’s a quote to entice you to read more:

Her personality was naive, sexy but at the same time clever, she was easily able to wrap men around her little finger, yet she was still youthfully innocent. A doll that had an expression between a teenager and a woman. Lilli was a beauty and she was a lady of fashion. Lilli was a symbol of the new femininity, a symbol of liberation and the satisfaction of women’s pent-up demand for consumer goods. Her perfect body,her high heels, red lips and fingernails, her ponytail and the wisp of hair curling over her forehead, her made-up eyebrows and her cheeky expression exuded sex appeal,confidence and independence. She wore the outfits of dream careers like stewardess and ballerina, or a sporty look for tennis or ice skating. She turned heads in ball gowns, furs, haute couture, lingerie, and American style casual clothes.

Both that interview and this article have photos, as does this interview for collectors.

In searching for more about Bild Lilli, I found this article which states that 20 to 25 percent of adult collectors are men. Women like to collect the dolls; men like to dress them up.

So now, dear lingerie loving cross dressers, do you collect dolls too?

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