Blythe is a fashion doll originally created in 1972 to compete with Barbie. Her design was inspired by Betty Boop. Unfortunately, she didn’t catch on with little girls and the doll was discontinued after a short duration.
She measures 28cm tall or 11″. This is 1/6 scale for all of you dollhouse lovers. 10cm of her total 28cm (a whopping 4″) is taken up by her head! Her head is enormous for a doll. This aspect is what gives her undeniable appeal. Big round head, itty bitty body.
Her large eyes follow by design. She’s sometimes referred to as the ‘big-eyed doll’ in Blythe communities. Most notably, her eyes are built on a turning mechanism and change with a pull string. There are 4 sets of eyes, left-facing, forward-facing, right and then forward again. Each turn displays a different colored set of eye chips.
Her original body, measuring 18cm is much like the old Barbie. She moves at the neck, arms, waist, and legs. Her knees have bendable joints. And she is pure fashion. The more clothes you add, the cuter she gets.
Blythe Doll History
The first Blythe doll was released in the US in 1972 by Kenner. It was a total flop. Kenner’s target market – little girls, thought the dolls were creepy and they did not sell well. The doll was discontinued after a year.
There are still some of the original 70s vintage dolls circulating. If you find one, don’t let it go, it could be worth thousands. I’ve seen them selling on eBay in the $1500 range.
You may or may have not heard the history of a Blythe Doll, but I’ll tell you it’s interesting. The doll created by the wonderful toy creator Allison Katzman, who had NO idea that these dolls are still around. You have to hear her story.
Blythe is Rediscovered
I’ve seen quite a few women online who remember having a Blythe Doll or wanting one.
One of those women was Gina Garan from New York. She had started a Blythe collection as a teenager, which grew to a staggering 2000 dolls. Through the years she grew into a budding photographer, shooting photos of her dolls throughout the world ‘from Greece to Soho to Hooters’.
In collaboration with Junko Wong, these photos were compiled into a stunning book called ‘This Is Blythe’. Selling over 50,000 copies. Junko had the instinct that the dolls would do well with fashion-focused women in early adulthood. So she brought the dolls back to Japan where they were displayed in the Parco department stores.
She wasn’t wrong.
Before long, Gina and Junko weren’t the only ones obsessed with Blythe. The world wanted Blythe back.
By 2001, Blythe went back into production by the Takara toy company and spread across Japan like wildfire. The trend continued to grow and spread worldwide.
Today, Blythe dolls are a popular collector’s item among women across the globe. Since Garan’s inception, there has been a slew of other books, dolls, clothes and so much more.
Blythe dolls come in all shapes and colors. Skin tones differ, there are all types of hairstyles and colors, and there have been multiple variations of their faceplate styles.
Not only are the dolls varied, there’s an unlimited choice of clothing beyond what comes in the package.
Styling clothing is an art in and of itself.
It’s not uncommon to see a Blythe doll layered in clothing. Start with a long-sleeved shirt and underskirt. Add a dress, cover it with an apron or pinafore. She may also have leggings, plus socks and shoes. Add on the sweater or jacket and a nice scarf. Then top it off with your choice of the many styles of hats, hair ties, ribbons, barrettes or scrunchies… You now have a girl dressed to the nines.
Just like any other obsession, Blythe is filled to the brim with things you can collect. A Blythe collection could include clothes, shoes, hats. Accessories like purses & backpacks, umbrellas, luggage. Bicycles, scooters and skateboards, cameras and laptops.
And then there are toys for your toys! Tiny scaled stuffed animals for your girls to hang on to, tea sets and food recreations.
She might live in a furnished house with single beds to entire bedroom sets, kitchens, and dining room sets.
And of course, you need display cases for the dolls, closets, and hangers for their clothes. Don’t forget a travel bag, backpack or display purse to bring your Blythe along with you wherever you go. You don’t want to miss that perfect photo op!
And thus is the world of Blythe. A 1/6 scale recreation of life for grown women. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
DO YOU HAVE A STORY ABOUT HOW YOU DISCOVERED THE BLYTHE DOLL? Heres Mine…
One day I was humming along, browsing Pinterest like it was any normal day when I came across the most beautiful face I’d ever seen. I still remember her so clearly. Long glorious red hair, round face like a cherub, and she was sleeping ever so peacefully. My world stopped for a moment. This little plastic doll sunk inside my heart instantaneously. The pin was only labeled ‘Blythe’… and I was hooked.
But, that’s all I knew, it was some kind of doll. It took months to find out what a Blythe Dolls actually was. And in that time, I painted pictures of dolls, gathered material to make clothes for dolls. After I bought my first, I needed more. 2,3 10! at a time. This is the life of an obsessive collector.