After 50 fantastic years, it’s definite — Midge is Barbie doll’s BFF! To celebrate, we sat down for tea with Bill Greening, designer of the duo’s mega-stylish Barbie and Midge 50th Anniversary Gift Set!
Barbie Collector: Wow, the colors, fashions, and hairstyles are amazing. What inspired your design choices?
Bill Greening: Well, let me start by saying the true inspiration is Midge, since she has stood the test of time and merits BFF status.
BC: True, and she is the very first friend of Barbie after all.
Bill: Not only that, but she disappeared from the line and made a triumphant comeback, which is also significant because it was the first time a friend was brought back from Barbie doll’s past. The comeback kid was California Midge, and I gotta say, I lost it when that doll came out!
BC: So did Barbie!
Bill: Absolutely, and I wanted to touch on her return because Midge had a great run. She got married in the ’90s. She’s had children. She’s had a very rich history.
BC: Interesting how Midge has had a very different life than Barbie.
Bill: And that’s the essence of this gift set — getting together and catching up over tea and lunch. The set’s color scheme is very spring-oriented — bright and cheerful — everything spending time with your BFF should be.
BC: It does set up a very playful scenario.
Bill: Exactly, like, Barbie and Midge dressing up and having fun at the Dreamhouse®. Gossiping about, oh, I don’t know, Francie® or Ken®! I initially wanted to call it Tea and Lunch.
BC: That’s a nice play on the names of the original luncheon-inspired outfits.
Bill: Yes, 1965’s Invitation to Tea, along with 1966’s Lunch on the Terrace, definitely evoke the glamour of that era and what it meant to be the perfect hostess.
BC: Barbie is definitely a stylish hostess. Her outfit matches her tea accessories.
Bill: And both dolls look like their vintage counterparts. For the American Girl Barbie, we’re using the classic nostalgic sculpt with a ’60s-inspired shade of coral pink for her lips. And for Midge, the design team gave collectors the doll they requested — a bendable leg Midge so she can even sit down for a tea break! Plus, because red hair is so iconic to Midge, we created a redhead.
BC: She’s so perky with those adorable freckles!
Bill: She’s really cute. There’s also a booklet that includes the Midge timeline, or as I like to call it: “Midge, This Is Your Life!”
BC: The best part is, her enduring friendship with Barbie means there’s lots more to look forward to in the future! Thanks, Bill!
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