Vintage Francie Dolls
Francie was presented to the public in 1966 as Barbie's mod cousin. While Barbie wore sophisticated fashions, Francie wore modern style clothing made with bright colors and patterns.
She was made slightly shorter than Barbie, although not as short as Skipper, leading the public to put Francie at an age between Barbie and Skipper. Francie was the first fashion doll to come with real eyelashes.
Mattel made Francie in many different configurations during the ten years she was on the market. From 1966 to 1968, she was available as a straight leg model and a bendable leg model. Beginning in 1967, she also was made as a Twist n Turn doll.
This model allowed her to twist at the waist. Also in 1967, Francie became the first dark complected doll for Mattel. Black Francie still used the caucasion molds, so she did not have true African American features. (article continued below)...
Handmade OOAK Hot Pink Baby Doll Outfit for VIntage Francie Barbie
Due to this fact, Christie, a doll issued in 1968, is usually considered to be the first true African American doll in Barbie's line. Black Francie was also not labeled as "Barbie's MODern cousin."
In 1967, Francie got a same-sized friend named Casey to share clothes with. A Twiggy doll was also made that year that fit in the same clothes. Twiggy looked similar to Casey, but had heavier makeup.
Twiggy was made until 1968, and Casey was on the shelves until 1970. In 1971, Francie joined the Malibu gang as Malibu Francie. This model used the Casey head on a tanned body and long blond hair.
Francie also came in many hair variations over the years. From 1970 to 1972, she made an appearance as Hair Happenin's Francie, from 1971 to 1973 she was known as Growin' Pretty Hair Francie and from 1973 to 1974, she was Quick Curl Francie.
Busy Francie, available from 1972 to 1973 had a special hand designed to grip small items. The last of the Francie dolls was Baggie Francie in 1975. Casey was brought back briefly around the same time as Baggie Casey.
Francie was not produced after 1975. In 1996, a reproduction was done by Mattel for Francie's 30th anniversary. In 1997, a Wild Bunch Black Francie was sold, and in 2005, a Smashin' Satin (No Bangs) Francie doll was made.
Part of the fun in collect vintage Francie dolls is the clothing. Her clothing was very modern and chic for the 1960s and 70s. From a red houndstooth skirt and jacket to a leopard fur coat, her clothing from 1966 are a miniature model of what was then modern style.
Some of the more challenging pieces to find include the clam digger outfit, the orange cozy set, and the style setters. When you do find a vintage set of clothing, it may be missing pieces or need cleaning.
Some of the designs and fabrics hold up well over time, while others tend to deteriorate. Some knit pieces are prone to more damage due to runs in the knit. Whenever you intend to buy an outfit that is delicate, like the first formal dress, check carefully for condition problems.
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