In The Pink
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Adore the outfits on these! So cool.
I’m so thankful everyone seemed to enjoy this. So here’s the latest installment of “Throwback Thursday.”
Back in the so-called “Golden Era” of store exclusive Barbies, just about every story had at least one or even several. That included stores in Europe like Hamleys of London and the Harvey Nichols luxury department store. One of the most overlooked of the store exclusive Barbies, though, was often the Palmers series of Barbies.
In 1996, Palmers - which is Austria’s best known lingerie store – introduced their own line of exclusive Barbies. The first doll, which was a redressed basic playline doll that featured the PTR (or “palms to rear”) arms came simply dressed in a mini copy of the company’s staff uniform. She also came with a set of Palmers lingerie, a Palmers shopping bag and a green token. The doll was so wildly popular that she sold out in only three days.
In order to satisfy demand, Palmers quickly released a second exclusive doll wearing a short green pleated skirt, a white garter and a miniature scarf from the Viennese fashion house, Adelmuller. This doll was by far the rarest as only 1,300 were made but still used a basic playline doll as the base. Seems strange but this was the same idea used by stores like the Lazarus department store chain in the US that also used basic dolls for the extravagant, high priced “Lara’s Furs” dolls that they sold.
In 1997, Palmers released another doll – this one usually called “Palmers Teresa” since she used a 1996 Splash n’ Color Teresa as a base doll. In the years that followed, Palmers continued to release a new “exclusive” each year including “The Angel,” “The Footman” and “Millennium” designed by Rosi K, which was the most glamourous of series.
After 2000, however, the demand for the Palmers dolls began to decline. Other stores had far more elaborate signature designs, dolls were now becoming “shared exclusives” and collectors were starting to expect more than a playline doll in fancy clothes. The silver-clad “Millennium” was the sixth and final doll in the Palmers series.
At the height of the popularity, these dolls were being traded across the globe with great glee. US collectors were often offering high end FAO Schwarz dolls like Silver Screen or Barbie as George Washington in exchange for just one of the Palmers dolls. I have to confess that I traded for a few myself, including the Angel. Most of these dolls had production numbers of 2,000 pieces or less and for a long time were wildly popular. Today, though, most dolls can be found for under $100 and some under $50.
An article on the Palmers series ran in the February 2000 issue of Barbie Bazaar. At the time, no one realized it would become the definitive article on these dolls.
As a side note, one of the least popular at the time was The Footman, though in retrospect, she’s become one of the most popular.
- Note: All photos are from the original Barbie Bazaar article and done by Rosi K.
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