I loved this session! We got to submit questions on cards, and I was thrilled with how candid the designers got to be with us! I didn't personally ask any questions myself, but I think I will try to next time. Here are as many as I was able to write down:
- Does Mattel have plans to make the dolls easier to remove from their boxes?
Basically, yes. Bill is a collector himself, so he understands that having hair sewn into the box really does damage the doll. So he is doing his best to remedy this issue as best he can. The sew strips have been eliminated, and most items are tacked in with as little as necessary. He realizes they still need work, but they are working on it.
- What was the inspiration behind the glamour wizard of oz collection?
The design team jokes about the wizard of oz line being an initiation for being a "real" designer at Mattel. As it was the 75th anniversary for Oz, they wanted to breath a little life into the collection. Linda loves how the Glam Witch came out.
- What's the deal with vintage repro?
With the prices of vintage having dropped so much, the need for vintage reproductions have really dropped as well, but they do have some in the works. Bill was very pleased with Skipper's sales, and of course has a brunette Skipper coming soon, plus Allan on the way, too. They also have additional vintage-inspired items planned as well, such as the Holiday Hostess line.
- How many dolls do you design per year, and are you sad when they don't all get produced?
The team is much, much smaller than it has been in years (Robert Best is the leader) with three designers working together now, and they make about 80-90 dolls per year. They joke among themselves about having a desk where "good dolls go to die," for those dolls that won't get produced. Bill was sad about a pivotal disco series that didn't get produced between Jazz Baby and Pop Life, and thinks he might bring them to auction one year.
- What was your first doll to be produced?
Bill's first doll was Cool Clips Barbie, which was produced and sold at FAO Schwarz.
- Which designers or celebrities would you like to work with or would you like to make as a celebrity doll?
Linda said, Chanel or Madonna, Jackie O. Bill said, Kylie Minogue!
- With the Hunger Games dolls, why is Effie wearing that dress, and not one of the more fancy event dresses?
It turns out that Lionsgate had to license Effie's fashions from McQueen, as she is wearing McQueen fashions in the film. So to make these dolls would require a double license, which would require even more time. Dolls usually require at least one year to produce, and Mattel only had 6 months for these, as the film was in theaters very soon. So that's is why that dress was chosen!