by Kenner in 1972, the original Blythe was designed by Marvin
Glass & Associates, one of the world's foremost toy design
studios. When the Toy Industry Hall of Fame was established in
1984, Marvin Glass was in the first group inducted (which coincidently
also included Merrrill L. Hassenfeld of Hasbro, Inc.), ten years
after his death. Kenner was bought out by Tonka Toys, which in
turn was bought out by Hasbro in the mid-1980s. And that is how
Hasbro has come to own the Blythe property.
In 1972, children found the large eyes that changed from green
to pink to blue to orange with the pull of the drawstring at the
back of Blythe's head a bit on the scary side. Blythe was produced
for only one year, but it is now apparent that she was ahead of
her time. For many years, Blythe was a curiosity that only doll
collectors were interested in. Then in 1997, a friend introduced
Gina Garan to Blythe, thinking that Gina looked like the doll.
Gina had just been given an old camera and she needed to test
it. Her first photos using that camera were of Blythe. Gina, who
works as a video and TV producer, started carrying at least one
of her Blythes wherever she went on her travels around the world
and took many photos.
December 1999, at the opening of an exhibition for the CWC International
artists in Soho, New York, Gina showed her photos to Junko Wong.
Junko took these photos to Parco and made a presentation for an
exhibition and as a "virtual model" for Parco's innovative
sales promotions. In the summer of 2000, This is Blythe, photos
by Gina Garan, was published by Chronicle Books. The Christmas
2000 Parco campaign featured Blythe in a TV commercial and print
media and Blythe took off in Japan. On eBay, vintage Blythes jumped
in price from $35 to $350. Blythe continued as Parco's "image
girl" through the spring and into the summer of 2001. The
price for vintage Blythes jumped to thousands of dollars U.S.
on eBay. Even the Neo-Blythes are sold for up to four times their
retail price on the Yahoo auction site in Japan.
In June 2001, the first of the Neo-Blythes - produced by CWC
and manufactured by Takara - went on the market. The launch of
the neo-Blythes was in conjunction with a photo exhibition by
Gina Garan. Gina made the trip from New York for the launch and
Parco Limited Edition (1000 dolls), sold out in less than an hour,
was followed by the Mondrian, and then Rosie Red, Holly Wood,
All Gold In One, Kozy Kape Inspired, Aztec Arrival Inspired, Sunday
Best, and in conjunction with the first year anniversary of the
neo-Blythes in Japan, Miss Anniversary Blythe. The first year
anniversary was marked by a series of Blythe events in Tokyo,
which included an exhibition and charity fashion show at the Spiral
Hall in Aoyama and exhibitions at the Rocket and CWC Galleries,
and at IMS in Fukuoka, Kyushu. The exhibition featured photos
by Gina Garan and dolls styled by artists, fashion designers,
and Blythe fans. The fashion show featured couture for Blythe
by such internationally known designers as: Issey Miyake, Chisato
Tsumori, and Hysteric Glamour.
Since the June 2002 events, Blythe dolls feature the "excellent
body." Bohemian Beat went on sale on July 31. Asian Butterfly
and Piccadilly Dolly followed in early autumn, 2002 with Skate
Date and Rouge Noir at the end of 2002. Dolls in 2003 include
Cinnamon Girl, Excellent Hollywood, Bohemian Beats Again, Tea
For Two, Disco Boogie, Cherry Berry, and Love Mission (Kuen Kuen),
Courtney Tez by Nike, Fruits Punch.
On December 20, 2003 Superior Skate and Very Inspired by Pow
Wow Poncho debuted out at the Blythe Cool Mod exhibition at Printemps
Department Store in Ginza. These two dolls were the first "Superior
Blythe" dolls made from a new mold which is based on a 3-D
laser scan of a vintage Blythe. All the Blythe dolls after Superior
Skate are the "superior" dolls. In January 2004, Velvet
Minuet and Silver Snow were released, and in March: I Love You,
It's True, and Sunday's Very Best. In April , Over the Stripes
Happy Everyday, a limited edition of 3000 was sold by lottery.
Lounging Lovely came out in May. The 3rd Anniversary Blythe, Art
Attack, a limited edition of 2004 dolls, was featured at Spiral
Hall sold to lottery winners. Paradis by Mono Comme Ca, another
limited edition of 3000, was also sold by lottery in June with
French Trench a Blythe Shop exclusive. The dolls for the rest
of the summer include: Blue Bird Basics, Mademoiselle Rosebud,
and Samedi Marche.
So far, thirty-seven different neo-Blythes and forty-eight petite
Blythes produced from June 2001 to the summer of 2004.
For more information about Blythe, please visit http://www.blythedoll.com
* Contents by courtesy of http://www.thisisblythe.com/
and photos by courtesy of http://www.blythedoll.com/