About Blythe
Kenner Blythe 1972

About Blythe - Introduction

-> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ->

Manufactured 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.

In 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 exhibition.

The 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 and http://www.thisisblythe.com

* Contents by courtesy of http://www.thisisblythe.com/ and photos by courtesy of http://www.blythedoll.com/

back to top Back to Top